Steve Diamond has named his Sale Sharks squad to face Glasgow Warriors in the club’s Heineken Champions Cup opener at Scotstoun this Saturday. (Kick-off 1pm)
European Rugby’s all-time top try scorer Chris Ashton is set to return in Glasgow as the experienced winger is included in the Sharks match-day squad for the first time since round one of this seasons Gallagher Premiership.
There are five other changes to the Sale side that downed Wasps at the AJ Bell Stadium last Friday. Rob Webber and Jake Cooper-Woolley return to the front row in place of Akker van der Merwe and Coenie Oosthuizen as Steve Diamond continues to rotate his front row options throughout the season.
Bryn Evans captains the team from second row alongside James Phillips who returns to the starting line-up in the absence of Josh Beaumont, who was seriously injured during the Sharks Gallagher Premiership round 4 match with Wasps. Jean-Luc du Preez starts at blindside flanker with twin brother Daniel at number 8 and the Springbok Internationals are joined in the back row by Ben Curry.
Embrose Papier starts at scrum-half and will pair up with AJ MacGinty who is included in the Sharks starting line-up for the first time since returning from international duty with the USA at the Rugby World Cup.
Byron McGuigan returns to Scotland in a rich vein of form and will be looking to make an impact against his former club. He keeps his place in an unchanged back three with the only change to the Sharks back-line being the inclusion of Luke James at inside centre in place of Rohan janse van Rensburg.
Akker van der Merwe, Coenie Oosthuizen, Valery Morozov, Matt Postlethwaite and Jono Ross are all included as replacement forwards, along with Will Cliff, Rob du Preez and European Rugby’s all-time top try scorer Chris Ashton in the backs.
Commenting ahead of the Sharks first Champions Cup outing since the 2016/17 season, Director of Rugby Steve Diamond said: “Glasgow have proven to be a top European side over the past few years and rarely lose at Scotstoun. We will have to be on our best up there to get a result, especially now they have their Scotland Internationals back.”