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Match preview: Tigers at Sale Sharks

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Sale Sharks defend the only unbeaten home record in the Aviva Premiership when Leicester Tigers travel to the AJ Bell Stadium on Easter Sunday.

Tigers returned to a place in the top four of the table with victory over league leaders Saracens last weekend but only five points cover the teams from third to sixth as the battle for semi-final places promises to go to the wire.
Sharks, in eighth, are just five points outside the top six with a game in hand on the rest and have not lost at the AJ Bell Stadium in any competition since Harlequins were the visitors in Aviva Premiership action last April.
Preparing for Round 18 of the league season, Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “Sale are a tough team to play against, they have a good pack and good set-piece, they’re very direct in midfield, Danny Cipriani at 10 is playing very well and their back three score some good tries. They’ve got a well balanced team.
“We had a good performance against Saracens last week. The physicality was good but we still had an attitude to try to go out and play. It was a proper 'Leicester Tigers performance'. The game is about attitude and appetite, and we showed a lot of that.
“Now it is about having a consistent level of performance in the remaining games and picking up as many points as we can because it is so tight in this league.”
Tigers have Grand Slam trio Ben Youngs, Dan Cole and Manu Tuilagi available again after Six Nations duties, but Logovi’i Mulipola sits this game out due to a one-week suspension.
Sharks are without centre Johnny Leota as he starts a two-week ban.
Director of rugby Steve Diamond told the club website: “Tigers are a top-four side, but we've beaten three of them this season, so we want to make it four this week. We want to keep that record going at home and stay as close as we can to the group of teams above us.”

Sharks won the opening meeting of the clubs this season, triumphing 10-3 at Welford Road in Round 11, and last recorded a double over Tigers in the 2007/08 season.
The clubs have met on 88 previous occasions with Leicester winning 63.
Kick-off on Sunday is at 1pm and tickets are still available from the host club. There is also live coverage on BT Sport.
Tigers will be in the club’s red, white and green home kit.
Referee for Sunday is Mr Thomas Foley.
Click here for a link to the Sale Sharks matchday travel plan this weekend.
Tigers return to home turf in Round 19 to face Gloucester Rugby on Saturday, April 2. Kick-off is at 3.15pm and match tickets are still available at the Tigers ticket office.
Call in at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or click here to book online. A print-at-home function is available on all online sales for home games, or pick up your tickets from the collection point outside the MET-Rx Stand on the way to the game. Please note the office is closed to visitors and phone calls during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend but all online services remain available all day every day.