TEAM NEWS – Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs – Gallagher Premiership Round 15

Sale Sharks name an experienced matchday squad to face Exeter Chiefs in Gallagher Premiership Round 15 – Live on BT Sport. (Friday 21st August – Kick-off 6:00pm)

 Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond has made one change to the 23-man squad that fell just short at the Stoop last weekend, as Sam James returns to the Sharks squad at outside centre with Manu Tuilagi deployed at inside centre for the top four clash at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe and Will-Griff John all retain their places in the Sharks starting line-up, as do Jean-Luc du Preez and Lood de Jager who as they look to build a formidable second-row partnership in the absence of the now retired Bryn Evans.

An unchanged back-row of Jono Ross, Tom Curry and Daniel du Preez returns to the field this weekend with the loose forwards looking to make amends for a disappointing evening in Twickenham last Friday.

The mercurial Faf de Klerk retains his number nine shirt ahead of the visit from table toppers Exeter tomorrow night. The World Cup winning Springbok will link up with fellow South African Rob du Preez for the sixth time this season.

Manu Tuilagi moves from outside to inside centre ahead of his home debut for the Sharks and he is joined in the midfield by club stalwart Sam James, who makes his return to the starting line-up for the first time since the return of the Gallagher Premiership.

Scotland flyer Byron McGuigan, Marland Yarde and Simon Hammersley complete an experienced Sale XV ahead of one of the club’s most important games of the season.

Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond was under no illusions about the power and skill Exeter possess, and admits his team will need to make significant improvements on last week’s performance in order to challenge Rob Baxter’s Chiefs. He said:

“Exeter have an extremely powerful game and they showed at the weekend that when they can’t score from their usual pick and go, they have class in their backs to do the damage out wide. They are without doubt the best team in the competition and have been in the top two for the last four to five years, it’s where everyone wants to be. We have trained well this week after a disappointing night at the stoop, our discipline let us down against Harlequins and in my opinion we didn’t really get to fire a shot so im looking forward to see what we can do tomorrow night.”

Starting XV 15. Simon Hammersley, 14. Byron McGuigan, 13. Sam James, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Marland Yarde, 10. Rob du Preez, 9. Faf de Klerk; 1. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Will-Griff John, 4. Jean-Luc du Preez, 5. Lood de Jager, 6. Jono Ross (Capt.) 7. Tom Curry, 8. Daniel du Preez

 Replacements 16. Curtis Langdon, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19. James Phillips, 20. Ben Curry, 21. Will Cliff, 22. AJ MacGinty, 23. Denny Solomona.

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