The 21-year-old fills a gap left by injuries to key midfield players like Charlie Hodgson, Jos Baxendell, Chris Rhys Jones and Dan Harris and he will start at inside centre – even though his occasional appearances as a replacement have been on the wing.
"Chris has performed well for our Under-21 side and has done well when called in off the bench this season," said Sharks coach Jim Mallinder.
"We believe that inside centre will be his best position and he deserves this opportunity. He will have experience on either side in fly-half Braam van Straaten and Aussie centre Graeme Bond."
The other change in the back division is the elevation of Nick Walshe, who was on the bench for last week's game against Bath after recovering from injury. He takes over from Richard Wigglesworth, who reverts to the replacements bench.
Up front, Andy Titterrell starts at hooker in place of Matt Cairns and Stuart Turner continues at tighthead, with Barry Stewart sidelined by a calf injury.
The Sharks have never won at Welford Road, with Mallinder adding: "It will be very hard but we know we have a decent pack of forwards and we will be looking at our new halfback pairing to bring our backs into the game.
"We have a few injury problems and the team hasn't been playing well but there is a long way to go and a challenge like this is what we need."
Sale Sharks: 15 Vaughan Going, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Graeme Bond, 12 Chris Mayor, 11 Steve Hanley, 10 Braam van Straaten, 9 Nick Walshe, 8 Phil Davies, 7 Stuart Pinkerton, 6 Alex Sanderson (captain), 5 Chris Jones, 4 Dean Schofield, 3 Stuart Turner, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Andrew Sheridan.Replacements: 16 Matt Cairns, 17 Kevin Yates, 18 Christian Day, 19 Iain Fullarton, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 James Hoyle, 22 Richard Wigglesworth.
Kick-off: 14.45 BST (13.45 GMT)