TEAM NEWS – Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons

Sale Sharks have named their side to face Newcastle Falcons on Friday night as they look to continue the defence of their Premiership Rugby Cup title in front of a home crowd at the AJ Bell Stadium. Alex Sanderson makes seven changes to the starting team that faced Leicester Tigers in round one of the competition – and includes academy back Elliot Gourlay in his squad for the first time – as the Sharks look to bounce back from defeat against their northern rivals. 

The Sale Director of Rugby names Simon McIntyre at loosehead prop once again, following an impressive performance on his ‘second debut’ at Mattioli Woods Welford Road. The Premiership veteran is selected alongside Joe Jones and Curtis Langdon in the Sharks front-row, with Langdon replacing Akker van der Merwe at hooker in the first of four changes to the Sale pack.

Matt Postlethwaite keeps his place at lock for a second consecutive week. The Yorkshire born academy graduate links up with Reuban Birch at second-row for the first time this season as the flanker moves forward to make room for Cameron Neild in the back-row.

Neild returns to action for Sale and is named at blindside flanker in place of Birch. Following a brace of tries and a man of the match performance in round one, Sam Dugdale keeps his spot in the Sale back-row and is joined by Daniel du Preez who captains the side from number eight.

Gus Warr continues to develop his skillset from scrum-half and has the trusted hands of Robert du Preez orchestrating the Sharks backs from fly-half this weekend. Du Preez, one of only two changes to the Sale back-line, has an array of academy talent at his disposal on Friday night.

Luke James is named at inside centre and will look to provide direct running options alongside Jack Metcalf in the thirteen shirt. The pair have the pace of Arron Reed and Tom Roebuck on hand on either wing, whilst Scotland u20 talent Elliot Gourlay steps in at full-back for his first start.

Josh Brown (Sale FC), Ben Carlile and Nick Schonert act as front-row replacements this weekend, whilst Ewan Murphy and Ben Curry provide further cover for the forwards. Nye Thomas, Tom Curtis and Joe Bedlow cover the backs.

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