Sale Sharks have named their side to face London Irish in round 13 of the Gallagher Premiership at the AJ Bell Stadium tomorrow night. (Kick-off 8:00pm)
Steve Diamond makes five changes to the Sharks squad that defeated Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm in round 12 as World Cup winner Lood de Jager prepares to make his club debut after recovering from the shoulder injury he sustained during the World Cup Final in November.
Jake Cooper-Woolley is the sole change in the forwards for Friday evenings match, with the experienced premiership tighthead trading places with Will-Griff John in the starting line-up.
Cooper-Woolley joins Rob Webber and Coenie Oosthuizen in the front row with the now familiar lock partnership of Jean-Luc du Preez and Bryn Evans in the engine room behind them. Jono Ross captains the side from an unchanged back row including Ben Curry and the formidable Daniel du Preez.
Will Cliff continues to impress at scrum half and will marshal the team alongside Robert du Preez. The Springbok fly-half has the James brothers outside him with Luke and Sam at Inside and outside centre respectively.
The only other change in the starting line-up sees Denny Solomona return on the right wing in place of Byron McGuigan who has been in Six Nations camp this week with Scotland. Solomona joins the in-form Marland Yarde and ever-present Simon Hammersley in the back three.
After dropping out late in round 12, Ross Harrison returns to the squad as a replacement for Coenie Oosthuizen. The Sharks stalwart is joined on the bench this week by World Cup Winning duo Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager along with returning Scotland International Byron Mcguigan.
Ahead of the Sharks return to the AJ Bell, Director of Rugby Steve Diamond was full of praise for the Gallagher Premiership newcomers. He said: “Declan Kidney and Les Kiss have done a fantastic job over the course of the season, they recruited well over the summer and they have picked up some good momentum in the league in recent weeks. We cannot afford to be complacent tomorrow night and we need to be on the ball, we are playing a completely different side to the one we faced in round two.”