Perry makes timely return

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The Independent Online

Matt Perry returns from injury to start his first match for Bath since September against Sale today. Other changes to the line-up see James Hudson and Rob Fidler step into the second row for Steve Borthwick and Danny Grewcock who are away on international duty at Twickenham. Also absent, with injuries, from the Bath team are right wing Andy Higgins (broken jaw) and flanker Andy Beattie (torn calf). For their part, Sale are minus seven Test players; five, including their captain and the newly appointed England leader, Jason Robinson, Charlie Hodgson and Mark Cueto with England. Jason White is with Scotland, while Bruno Sebastien faces the Wallabies with France today. In the absence of Robinson, Jos Baxendell is captain.

Matt Perry returns from injury to start his first match for Bath since September against Sale today. Other changes to the line-up see James Hudson and Rob Fidler step into the second row for Steve Borthwick and Danny Grewcock who are away on international duty at Twickenham. Also absent, with injuries, from the Bath team are right wing Andy Higgins (broken jaw) and flanker Andy Beattie (torn calf). For their part, Sale are minus seven Test players; five, including their captain and the newly appointed England leader, Jason Robinson, Charlie Hodgson and Mark Cueto with England. Jason White is with Scotland, while Bruno Sebastien faces the Wallabies with France today. In the absence of Robinson, Jos Baxendell is captain.

New signing Paul Sampson starts on the Worcester bench as they face Leicester, while Clive Stuart-Smith makes his first Premiership start at scrum-half and lock Matt Gillies is back in the second row. For the Tigers, the Deacon brothers, Louis and Brett, are back in harness in the second row and back row respectively. Props Michael Holford and Darren Morris come into the side for England's Graham Rowntree and Julian White.

Newcastle Falcons give Andy Buist, 20, his first start at lock tomorrow against Leeds. A reshuffled pack sees Semo Sititi start the match at blindside, Marius Hurter take over at tighthead and midfielder Jamie Noon replace Matthew Tait. Leeds have hooker Mark Regan back permanently following his retirement from international rugby earlier this week and Gareth Wright, their new signing from South Africa, makes his debut at fly-half.

Saracens' South African international prop Cobus Visagie has agreed a contract extension that could see him finish his career with the club. The 29-year-old's existing deal was due to expire at the end of this season, but fresh terms mean he will now be a Saracens player until at least 2006.

"We are delighted that Cobus has agreed to extend his contract with us," said the Saracens head coach, Rod Kafer. "He has had a major impact at the club since his arrival, both on and off the field. He is probably one of the best technical scrummagers around at the moment, and he is an important squad member. He also lends his experience to our young front-row players, who have been finding his help important to their development."

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