Sale Sharks have named their side as they prepare to face Exeter Chiefs in the 2020-21 Gallagher Premiership semi-finals on Saturday. The Sharks head to Sandy Park for the second consecutive week and will make their first play-off appearance in 15 years against the reigning Premiership champions. (Saturday 19th June – Kick-off 4:30pm – Live on BT Sport)
Sale Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson makes a total of seven changes to his matchday 23 following defeat to the Chiefs last weekend as Ben Curry, Robert du Preez and Curtis Langdon all return to the Sharks starting line-up for the semi-finals.
Sanderson names a highly experienced pack to face Exeter on Saturday. Ross Harrison, Curtis Langdon and Coenie Oosthuizen all line up in an abrasive Sharks front-row, whilst the now familiar lock pairing of Cobus Wiese and Jean-Luc du Preez provide ample power in the second row.
Tom Curry shifts over to blindside flanker following Cameron Neild’s injury in Round 22. The British and Irish Lion joins identical twin brother Ben and the imposing Daniel du Preez in an electric Sharks back row.
Springbok star Robert du Preez links up with compatriot Faf de Klerk at half-back in the absence of the injured AJ MacGinty and he has an exciting Sharks back line outside him for the Sandy Park showdown. Manu Tuilagi provides maximum physicality in midfield alongside the deft skill of ever-present Sam James. Whilst the pace and power of Arron Reed and former Chief Byron McGuigan provide further options on the wings. Simon Hammersley wears the 15 shirt after a solid performance at full back in round 22.
Russian international Valery Morozov returns to action to take his place on the bench as a front-row replacement alongside Scotlaand star Ewan Ashman and departing Will-Griff John. James Phillips and club captain Jono Ross provide further cover in the forwards.
Rising star Raffi Quirke also returns to the Sharks 23 and will be tasked with providing high energy from the bench. Fellow academy graduate Kieran Wilkinson covers fly-half with 18 stone centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg providing a further test of physicality for Exeter.
Ahead of the match, Alex Sanderson was relishing the opportunity of a second crack at the reigning Premiership Champions. He said: “We’re very motivated to go down there and have another crack. It’s a real gift.
“Usually after a loss, or if you leave something out there or don’t quite empty the tank, you go home and you have these feelings of discomfort and anger, and you aren’t able to exorcise these feelings until the week after. Even when you do get that chance to exorcise them, it’s against a different team so you don’t get change to exorcise them fully.
“We’ve got the opportunity to right all our wrongs this weekend against the same opposition, I think that’s a rare gift, so we can’t wait to get back out there on Saturday.”