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Worcester set Sale for victory

Worcester will aim to build on an outstanding result in France when they continue their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign against Aviva Premiership rivals Sale.

Sale arrive at Sixways on Saturday to face a Warriors side buoyed by an impressive 9-9 draw against in-form Oyonnax last weekend, which came after a run of five successive league defeats.

"We are at home and we have an opportunity to take control of the group if we can put in a good performance," Worcester head coach Carl Hogg said.

"It is about balancing and managing the squad. It's a long old season, so you want to be able to give some of the boys the chance to put their hands up.

"But at the same time you need to put out a team which is capable of going out on to the field and getting a result."

Argentina international lock Mariano Galarza will make a full debut for Worcester, while his second-row partner Mike Williams, full-back Chris Pennell, wing Josh Drauniniu and skipper Jonathan Thomas all return to action.

Sale, comfortable conquerors of struggling Biarritz eight days ago, field Danny Cipriani and Dwayne Peel as their half-back combination, and there are also starts for the likes of Tom Arscott, Mark Cueto and Jonathan Mills.

Bath can take charge of Pool Two if they beat Recreation Ground visitors Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday and claim a second successive victory in the group.

Full-back Nick Abendanon will captain the west country club on his first appearance of the season, with Matt Banahan and Gavin Henson teaming up in midfield and Tom Heathcote handed fly-half duties.

Dragons boss Lyn Jones makes eight changes to the side that strolled past Italian minnows Mogliano last time out, including starts for half-backs Jason Tovey and Richie Rees, while Wales lock Andrew Coombs begins his comeback from injury on bench duty.

England wing Marland Yarde returns to London Irish colours for the Exiles' trip to Portugal and an appointment with Lusitanos on Saturday as the Premiership club chase a second successive bonus point triumph.

But Newcastle, after scraping past Pool Three hosts Bucharest by a point last weekend, face another difficult away-day when they tackle French club Brive - the 1997 Heineken Cup winners - on Saturday night.


From Belfast Telegraph