Sale Sharks head to Mattioli Woods Welford Road this afternoon with a strong record in recent contests with Leicester Tigers.
Tigers go into this Round 6 contest as the only unbeaten team in the Gallagher Premiership after winning the opening five games in the competition for the first time in the club’s history.
But Sharks have won the last five meetings of the teams and have not lost on Tigers turf since September 2018, when George Ford kicked 14 points to go with a try from Kyle Eastmond in a 19-15 victory for the hosts.
Ford currently tops the Premiership list of points-scorers, with 48 in five rounds so far from nine conversions and 10 penalties.
His colleague Nic Dolly, a former Sale player, is joint-top try-scorer in the league with five, level with Harlequins wing Louis Lynagh.
Dolly starts among the replacements for Tigers this week, with Argentina captain Julián Montoya joining Ellis Genge and Dan Cole in the front row. Calum Green and Ben Youngs are back in the starting team and Dan Kelly returns from suspension.
Marco van Staden makes his home debut after outings in the away wins over London Irish and Worcester Warriors.
Fellow South African back-rower Jasper Wiese, in his first run-out on home turf this season, lines up opposite his younger brother Cobus who is named in the Sharks forward pack.
Sharks ended defending champions Harlequins’ winning run last week with scores from Raffi Quirke (2) and Jono Ross in a 28-22 home victory. It was also their first win since beating Bath on the opening weekend, though they did draw at London Irish in Round 2.
“I was massively impressed with them against Quins,” said Tigers scrum-half and coach Richard Wigglesworth who began his professional career with Sharks.
“We know we are playing one of the top teams in the league, they bring a huge amount of strength and physicality, and tactically they’re very good as well.”
World Cup winner Lood de Jager makes his long-awaited return for the visitors as Alex Sanderson makes seven changes to his squad following the win over Quins. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Marland Yarde and Ben Curry are all included for the trip and young scrum-half Nye Thomas is named in the 23 for the first time.
Manu Tuilagi will play in front of a Mattioli Woods Welford Road crowd for the first time since leaving Tigers in the summer of 2020.
Referee is Karl Dickson, in charge for the 48th time in Premiership rugby.
Sale will be in all white, with Tigers in the club’s traditional green, white and red colours.
This game is not listed for live coverage with BT Sport, but if you are not attending the game you can follow updates with the club’s Matchday Live service on app and website, or Tigers social media pages. There will be full reaction afterwards.
If you are heading to the match, check out the Matchday Guide for all your need to know before you get to the stadium.
Round 6 in full
Friday: Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors
Saturday: Exeter Chiefs v London Irish, Gloucester Rugby v Newcastle Falcons, Harlequins v Bath Rugby, Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks
Sunday: Saracens v Wasps