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Cockerill wants Tigers to front up

Richard Cockerill has challenged his Leicester fringe players to rise to the challenge of propelling the team up the table after Manu Tuilagi joined the club's injured list.

Star centre Tuilagi is set to be absent until mid-December after breaking a cheekbone in a collision with Scott Lawson during last Friday's home victory over Gloucester in the LV= Cup.

Cockerill said: "Manu suffered a broken cheekbone after a clash of heads in the Gloucester game and we'll be without him for about six weeks. Anthony Allen has had an operation on his thumb after an injury in an accident at home but we knew we would need the whole squad to front up if we were going to push on this season."

He added: "We're having a terrible run of luck, especially with Mathew Tait's groin injury and Billy Twelvetrees out with an ankle injury.

"Matt Smith has been playing really well and Horacio Agulla came back from the World Cup and fitted right back in last week.

"We now have all the Test players back with us and we've been working hard to integrate them as quickly as possible."

Leicester's only win in the league this season came in a tight match at Newcastle, and most of their defeats have come in close games, aside from when they shipped 50 points to Saracens at Welford Road.

In Friday's clash with Sale they will have hooker George Chuter making his 250th appearance in Tigers colours, and Tom Croft playing his 100th match for the club.

Sale's policy heading into the Edgeley Park tussle will be to ignore the league table and remember the threat Leicester carried in finishing top of the pile last season.

Sale boss Steve Diamond said: "We've had some good sessions this week, working on several issues raised by last week's game. The match against Leicester will be very tough, probably our hardest task of the season. We can't wait."

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