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Chuter makes a landmark appearance

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Leicester Tigers make two changes to the team that beat Gloucester last weekend for Friday's return to Aviva Premiership Rugby action at Sale Sharks.

Scott Hamilton is recalled to the backline and George Chuter is named at hooker.

Chuter is set for his 250th club appearance after making his Tigers debut in March 2001. The England international is also third on the all-time Premiership appearances list with 234 in his career with Leicester and Saracens.

Tom Croft also reaches a landmark as his makes his 100th appearance for the club since his debut in November 2005.

International prop Martin Castrogiovanni returns to the squad for the first time this season and is included among the replacements alongside Ed Slater, Steve Mafi and Niall Morris who were all rested last week after playing in each of the opening seven matches of the season.

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill has selected Matt Smith and Horacio Agulla in a new partnership at centre after injuries to Manu Tuilagi and Anthony Allen.

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.

“We’re having a terrible run of luck, especially with Mathew Tait’s groin injury and Billy Twelvetrees out with an ankle injury.

“But we knew we would need the whole squad to front up if we were going to push on this season. 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 and we’ve been working hard to integrate them as quickly as possible.”

Ben Youngs remains on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Leicester Tigers (v Sale Sharks, Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 7, away, Friday 7.45pm)
15 Geordan Murphy (c)
14 Scott Hamilton
13 Horacio Agulla
12 Matt Smith
11 Alesana Tuilagi
10 Toby Flood
9 Sam Harrison
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 George Chuter
3 Dan Cole
4 George Skivington
5 Geoff Parling
6 Tom Croft
7 Julian Salvi
8 Thomas Waldrom

16 Tom Youngs
17 Boris Stankovich
18 Martin Castrogiovanni
19 Steve Mafi
20 Ed Slater
21 James Grindal
22 Jeremy Staunton
23 Niall Morris

Sale Sharks have named skipper Sam Tuitupou and Johnny Leota as a new centre pairing for the game, and Richie Vernon starts at No8 for the first time.

Welsh international back-rower Andy Powell is included among the replacements after his return from the World Cup, and Irish prop Tony Buckley has recovered from flu to take a place on the bench.

Sharks executive director of sport 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."

Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou (c), 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel; 1 Alasdair Dickinson, 2 Marc Jones, 3 Henry Thomas, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 5 Kearnan Myall, 6 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 8 Richie Vernon.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Vadim Cobilas, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Mark Easter, 20 Andy Powell, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Luther Burrell, 23 Will Addison