Sale Sharks have named their side to face Bath Rugby in round 9 of the Gallagher Premiership as Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson makes ten changes to the starting XV that downed high flying Bristol Bears last weekend.
Club stalwart Ross Harrison brings a wealth of experience to the Sharks pack as he returns to the starting line-up alongside Curtis Langdon and Springbok International Coenie Oosthuizen in the front row. As the Sharks prepare for another physical encounter with Bath at the AJ Bell Stadium, the Sale coaching team opt to deploy a new-look Sale second row with J.P du Preez teaming up with James Phillips for the first time this season. Jono Ross captains the side from openside flanker and is joined in the back-row by powerhouse twins Jean-Luc and Daniel du Preez.
In a re-shuffle of the Sale back line, only Sam Hill and Byron McGuigan remain in the starting line-up for tomorrow evening’s match. Will Cliff re-claims the number nine shirt and takes his place alongside Robert du Preez at half back. Sam Hill continues to thrive at inside centre and is joined in the midfield by former England U20 captain Conor Doherty in the pairs first outing together. Byron McGuigan is released from Six Nations camp to take his place on the wing with Tom Roebuck and Simon Hammersley joining the Scotland winger in an exciting Sale back three.
Ahead of tomorrow evening’s match, Alex Sanderson was cautious of the threat Bath will offer after the West Country outfit defeated Sale in a tightly contested forward battle last season, he said:
“We aren’t expecting a poor team to come up to the AJ Bell, quite the opposite actually. The moment you start overlooking things and being overconfident is the moment you start getting beaten badly and embarrassed, so we won’t be taking Bath lightly this weekend. We have been using last year’s match, where they physically dominated us as a reminder that for every example of Bath being underpowered recently, there is another match which shows their complete dominance and control. That’s the challenge we want this weekend and that’s what I think Bath will bring.”