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Team News ahead of Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints

28 January 2005

JASON ROBINSON has recovered from his hamstring injury and will captain the Sale Sharks in the home game against Northampton Saints tomorrow(Saturday 14.45hrs).

Jason said " Nick Johnston (fitness coach) and his  backroom team have worked around the clock helping me recover. I was also struggling last week with a viral infection, which has now thankfully gone and I am really looking forward to the game. Northampton will be up for this contest and it is crucial that we win to keep our top three place in the table."

Director of Rugby Philippe Saint Andre said "Northampton have recovered well after their early season loss of form. They have qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter finals and like ourselves lost last weekend and will be keen to win tomorrow.

"Fortunately the virus that has swept the club in the last fortnight has eased and my players are fully prepared and looking forward to tomorrow afternoons game."

Changes from last week include  Bryan Redpath and Magnus Lund start and both Steve Hanley and Andrew Sheridan have recovered from the flu.

Team

Jason Robinson,
Mark Cueto,
Jos Baxendell,
Robert Todd,
Steve Hanley,
Charlie Hodgson,
Bryan Redpath,
Andrew Sheridan,
Sebastien Bruno,
Stuart Turner,
Chris Jones,
Dean Schofield,
Jason White, 
Magnus Lund,
Sebastien Chabal.

Subs From: Barry Stewart, Martin Halsall, Andy Titterrell, Chris Day, John Carter, Richard Wigglesworth, Mike Hercus, Chris Mayor, Chris Rhys Jones, Peter Anglesea and Pierre Caillet.

The last three games between the two clubs have averaged 55 points a game including the edge of your seat 37-37 draw in Sale Sharks first ever Zurich Premiership game at Edgeley Park

Selbourne Boome makes his comeback this weekend 
Budge Pountney has made several changes ahead of Saints game against Sale Sharks, live on Sky this Saturday (kick-off: 14.45).

Northampton head coach Budge Pountney has made sweeping changes in the pack as his Saints side look to maintain their Premiership momentum at Sale Sharks on Saturday.

Captain Steve Thompson and Tom Smith - who both missed last week's defeat to Leeds with a knock and illness respectively - start, and Matt Lord replaces Damien Browne. Browne takes Lord's place on the bench.

Saints' pack will also be bolstered by the return of Selborne Boome. The former Springbok has been out of action since a mid-October knee injury. However, Boome made a try-scoring appearance in the Zurich �A' League on Monday and has been included in the first team line-up for the testing trip to Manchester.

A week ahead of the RBS Six Nations Ben Cohen reverts to his international position of wing at the expense of Mark Tucker - who, along with Grant Seely and Dan Richmond, is left out of the 22-man squad; Chris Hyndman, whose last Saints start was in November,  comes into the centre. And Mark Robinson's midweek suspension means that Johnny Howard maintains his half-back partnership with Shane Drahm.

Prop Brett Sturgess comes onto the bench, as do Academy products Ben Jones and Paul Diggin, the latter for his first Saints squad appearance of the season.

Northampton Saints

15 BRUCE REIHANA
14 Wylie Human
13 Chris Hyndman
12 Marc Stcherbina
11 BEN COHEN
10 Shane Drahm
9 Johnny Howard
1 TOM SMITH
2 STEVE THOMPSON (capt)
3 Simon Emms
4 SELBORNE BOOME
5 Matt Lord
6 ANDREW BLOWERS
7 Darren Fox
8 ROSS BEATTIE

16 Johan van Wyk
17 Brett Sturgess
18 Damien Browne
19 Mark Soden
20 Ben Jones
21 PAUL GRAYSON
22 Paul Diggin


Summary of meetings between the teams in the Premiership:
Played 15;  
Sale Sharks Won 6  40.0%;
Northampton Saints Won 8  53.3%;
Drawn 1  6.7%; 
Biggest Win for Sale Sharks 34 - 14 20 Oct 2001;
Biggest Win for Northampton Saints 51 - 12 21 Feb 2004;
Sale Sharks top try scorer vs Northampton Saints Steve Hanley 8 tries; 
Sale Sharks top points scorer vs Northampton Saints Charlie Hodgson 84 points;
Northampton Saints top try scorer vs Sale Sharks Matt Allen 5 tries; 
Northampton Saints top points scorer vs Sale Sharks Paul Grayson 98 points.

Previous Meetings

16 Oct 2004 ZP Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints  23 - 6 Franklin's Gardens  
21 Feb 2004 ZP Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints  12 - 51 Franklin's Gardens  
12 Sep 2003 ZP Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints  37 - 37 Edgeley Park  
26 Apr 2003 ZP Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints  17 - 27 Franklin's Gardens  
30 Aug 2002 ZP Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints  24 - 21 Heywood Road  
09 Feb 2002 ZP Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints  20 - 10 Franklin's Gardens  
20 Oct 2001 ZP Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints  34 - 14 Heywood Road  
24 Feb 2001 ZP Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints  26 - 32 Franklin's Gardens  
09 Sep 2000 ZP Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints  34 - 23 Heywood Road  
25 Mar 2000 ZP Sale Sharks vs Northampton Saints  7 - 26 Franklin's Gardens  

Sale's narrow 23-24 loss to Bath in the cup last Friday was their first reversal at Edgeley Park since Harlequins were the visitors in November. In the Premiership the Sharks have recorded just one victory and six league points from their last five matches.

Northaampton's five game winning run in all competitions came to a halt with the 19-24 loss at home to Leeds in the cup last Saturday. The Saints have won their last two Premiership matches following an unwanted run of nine straight losses in the tournament.

Sale beat Northampton for the first time in over two years when they met at Franklin's Gardens in October. The Saints have played at Edgeley Park only once before - a thrilling 37-all draw in September 2003, the highest scoring draw in the history of the Premiership.