TEAM NEWS | Sale Sharks v London Irish

England star Raffi Quirke returns to the Sharks’ starting line-up for the first time in six months and Sam Hill makes his first Premiership start this season as Alex Sanderson’s men go in search of a fifth successive league win against London Irish under the Friday night lights at the AJ Bell Stadium (Friday, October 14, 7.45pm KO – live on BT Sport).

Scotland hooker Ewan Ashman also features from the start for the first time this season while Dan du Preez and captain Ben Curry return to action as the Sharks Director of Rugby makes five changes for the round six clash against Declan Kidney’s men in front of the BT Sport cameras.

Academy graduate Ashman packs down between Nick Schonert and England prop Bevan Rodd in a powerful Sharks front row.

In the second row, Jonny Hill lines up alongside Jean-Luc du Preez who switches from the number eight shirt he wore in the win at Premiership champions Leicester in round four.

Twin brother Dan is back in his familiar position at number eight for Friday’s game, and he’s flanked by another set of twins – captain Ben Curry at blindside flanker and brother Tom at openside.

In the half-backs, Raffi Quirke lines up at scrum-half after his electric cameo at Mattioli Woods Welford Road last weekend, and he’s joined by the in-form Rob du Preez at fly-half.

After an injury plagued 2021/22 season, fit-again Sam Hill starts at inside centre and he’s partnered by the ever-present Sam James at 13.

And after an impressive showing against Leicester, the back three is unchanged as Joe Carpenter takes his place in between Tom O’Flaherty and Tom Roebuck.

Akker van der Merwe, Simon McIntyre and Coenie Oosthuizen provide power and front-row experience on the replacements bench, and further forwards cover comes from Josh Beaumont and Jono Ross.

The backs are covered by academy graduates Gus Warr, Tom Curtis and Arron Reed.

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