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Premiership Rugby

Mayor takes centre stage for Sharks

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

CHRIS Mayor, the former Wigan Warrior, gets his first Zurich Premiership start for Sale Sharks against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Saturday.

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, even though his occasional appearances as a replacement have been on the wing, he will start at inside centre against Tigers.

Sharks' coach Jim Mallinder said: "Chris has performed well for our under-21 side and has done well when called in off the bench this season. 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 tight-head with Barry Stewart sidelined by a calf injury.

The Sharks have never won at Welford Road and Mallinder said: "It will be very hard but we know we have a decent pack of forwards and we will be looking at our new half-back 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."

TEAM: 15 Vaughan Going 14 Mark Cueto 13 Graeme Bond 12 Chris Mayor 11 Steve Hanley 10 Braam van Straaten 9 Nick Walshe 1 Andrew Sheridan 2 Andy Titterrell 3 Stuart Turner 4 Dean Schofield 5 Chris Jones 6 Alex Sanderson capt 7 Stuart Pinkerton 8 Phil Davies. REPLACEMENTS: 16 Matt Cairns 17 Kevin Yates, 18 Christian Day 19 Iain Fullarton, 20 Magnus Lund 21 James Hoyle 22 Richard Wigglesworth.

ENDS

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