TEAM NEWS – La Rochelle v Sale Sharks – Heineken Champions Cup

Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson names an unchanged matchday 23 as he prepares his squad to face La Rochelle in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals at the Stade Marcel Deflandre on Saturday. (Kick-off 3pm BST – Live on BT Sport and Channel 4)

 Following an emphatic round of sixteen victory over Llanelli Scarlets last weekend, the Sharks will look to maintain their momentum in the competition as they head to the Atlantic coast of France to make their first Champions Cup quarter-final appearance in over fifteen years.

Alex Sanderson opts for consistency in his selection for the crucial quarter final matchup with the French giants La Rochelle, as he rewards the Sale squad that faced Scarlets with another opportunity to impress on the European stage.

After dismantling an experienced Scarlets pack for large parts of Sunday’s match, exciting England prospect Bevan Rodd is named alongside the abrasive Akker van der Merwe and Will-Griff John in a formidable Sharks front row.

Josh Beaumont captains the side from lock and lines up with Cobus Wiese for the second consecutive match. The experienced pair have the unforgiving back row partnership of Jean-Luc Du Preez, Tom Curry and Daniel du Preez behind them.

The mercurial Faf de Klerk and last 16 record-breaker AJ MacGinty will look to light up the European rugby scene once more as the pair are named in tandem again for this weekend’s fixture.

Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Sam James continue to re-develop their midfield partnership in the centres following Van Rensburg’s return from injury last week, with the combination offering a huge physical threat to the La Rochelle defence.

Marland Yarde, Byron McGuigan and Simon Hammersley complete an experienced Sharks starting XV for Saturday’s quarter final.

Talking to the media ahead of this weekend’s European action, Alex Sanderson said he was well aware of the threats the La Rochelle squad offer.

He said: “Having watched their game last Friday, you have to have an awareness of their threats without being obsessed about certain players. Victor Vito for example is a phenomenal athlete and Will Skelton is incredibly physical but winning this game is all about a collective effort. A huge collective effort from us like we showed on Sunday.

“We are well aware of the challenge we face, but I think we have the belief now following the Scarlets match, of what we can put out there ourselves. If we get it right mentally and have clarity in our plan, we can be highly competitive in this competition and we’ll take it to La Rochelle on Saturday.”

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