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Leicester Tigers line-up for Monday sell-out

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Leicester Tigers make five changes to the team for the sell-out Aviva Premiership clash with Sale Sharks on Monday (2pm kick-off).

“This is a pretty intense period of rugby, especially with two big, physical games against Perpignan in the last couple of weeks, so it is important that we look after the players and manage the squad,” said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

“We also have the England rest periods and a few injuries to deal with, but we’ve got a good squad and I’m looking for a big performance in front of a full house at Welford Road.

“We had a very good win away to London Irish in our last league game and we need to maintain our momentum and keep hold of that place in the top four of the table.”

Manu Tuilagi starts at centre, while James Grindal and Jeremy Staunton form the half-back partnership. Rob Hawkins and Ed Slater come into the forward pack, with Steve Mafi continuing in the back row alongside Craig Newby and Thomas Waldrom.

Ben Youngs, Dan Cole and George Chuter are rested in accordance with the EPS agreement, while Jordan Crane and Toby Flood are ruled out this week due to injury.

Tom Croft (shoulder), Dan Hipkiss (hamstring), Geoff Parling (knee), Ben Pienaar (Achilles), Boris Stankovich (eye) and Ben Woods (wrist) remain sidelined.

“Jordan Crane is improving well from his calf injury and Toby is recovering from a groin problem,” said Cockerill.

“Boris and Ben are not too far away now and Dan should be back in full training soon. Crofty has had a scan on his shoulder and it is repairing well but he’ll probably be another six to eight weeks before he’s back to full fitness.”

Leicester Tigers (vs Sale Sharks, Welford Road, Monday 2pm)
15 Geordan Murphy (c)
14 Scott Hamilton
13 Manu Tuilagi
12 Anthony Allen
11 Alesana Tuilagi
10 Jeremy Staunton
9 James Grindal
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Rob Hawkins
3 Martin Castrogiovanni
4 Louis Deacon
5 Ed Slater
6 Steve Mafi
7 Craig Newby
8 Thomas Waldrom

16 Joe Duffey
17 Peter Bucknall
18 Julian White
19 Calum Green
20 George Skivington
21 Sam Harrison
22 Matt Smith
23 Billy Twelvetrees

For a third successive week, Alesana and Manu Tuilagi face lining up against a brother, with Anitelea (Andy) named in the Sharks backline by new head coach Pete Anglesea.

England prop Andrew Sheridan is unavailable due to a slight back injury, but Chris Jones will make his first Aviva Premiership start this season. Mark Cueto makes his 150th Premiership appearance.

Sale Sharks: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Ben Cohen, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Andy Tuilagi, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel; 1 Lee Imiolek, 2 Marc Jones, 3 Karena Wihongi, 4 Chris Jones, 5 Kristian Ormsby, 6 Asaeli Boko, 7 Carl Fearns, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole. Replacements: 16 Ben Roberts,17 Simon McIntyre,18 Henry Thomas, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Chris Brightwell, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Chris Bell