ENGLAND INTERNATIONALS Tom Croft and Julian White will return to the Leicester Tigers line-up for the Aviva Premiership Round 16 match against Sale Sharks on Friday.

Croft made his first club appearance since October with a run-out from the replacements bench in the win over London Wasps last Saturday, while tighthead prop White makes his first start since November.

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill names an unchanged backline, and brings back Marcos Ayerza to join White in the front row.

“We’ve been going well and, although some of the teams around us have games in hand, we’re just focusing on what we are doing,” Cockerill said.

“There are seven games to go and we’re just trying to get as many points as we can. Sale is always a tough place to go but we’ve won our last three away games and we should go with some confidence.

“It’s all about getting results at this stage of the season. We’re in a good place at the moment but that can change very quickly.”

Jordan Crane (knee), Ed Slater (foot) and Matt Smith (hamstring) are ruled out by injury. Geordan Murphy, Ben Pienaar and Geoff Parling are also sidelined. Dan Cole, Louis Deacon, Toby Flood and Ben Youngs are on international duty with England, and Martin Castrogiovanni is with the Italy squad.

Leicester Tigers (vs Sale Sharks, Edgeley Park, Friday, 7.45pm)

15 Scott Hamilton

14 Horacio Agulla

13 Manu Tuilagi

12 Anthony Allen

11 Alesana Tuilagi

10 Jeremy Staunton

9 James Grindal

1 Marcos Ayerza

2 George Chuter

3 Julian White

4 Steve Mafi

5 George Skivington

6 Craig Newby (c)

7 Tom Croft

8 Thomas Waldrom


16 Rob Hawkins

17 Boris Stankovich

18 Peter Bucknall

19 Calum Green

20 Ben Woods

21 Sam Harrison

22 Dan Hipkiss

23 Billy Twelvetrees