England stars Bevan Rodd, Jonny Hill, Tom Curry and Manu Tuilagi return to the Sharks team after Autumn International Series duty as Alex Sanderson names an experienced side to face Ulster on Sunday in Sharks’ first Heineken Champions Cup fixture of the season (KO 1pm – Sunday, December 11. Live on BT Sport).
Winger Tom O’Flaherty is also back in the starting XV after fracturing his jaw against Saracens in October, while Rob du Preez will captain the side as the Sharks Director of Rugby makes six changes to his team for the visit of Dan McFarland’s men.
Rodd takes his place at loosehead prop against last season’s Champions Cup semi-finalists, and he’s joined in a formidable front row combination by Akker Van Der Merwe and Nick Schonert.
Jonny Hill returns to the second-row ‘boiler room’ to start with Cobus Wiese, while Tom Curry will wear the number seven shirt in a Du Preez twin sandwich as Jean-Luc and Dan start at blindside and number 8.
Gus Warr will renew his familiar half-back partnership with skipper Rob Du Preez, a combination that has found much success this season, while Tuilagi starts at 12 in an experienced centre partnership with Sam James.
O’Flaherty returns from injury to start on the left wing and will link up with youngsters Arron Reed and Joe Carpenter on the right wing and fullback respectively.
Tommy Taylor, Simon McIntyre and Joe Jones make up a strong set of front row replacements while the versatile Josh Beaumont and Jono Ross will also add significant impact from the bench.
Joe Simpson is named again on the bench with Tom Curtis who returns to the squad. Byron McGuigan completes the replacements after his impressive performance vs Bristol last week.
Sale Sharks Starting XV:
15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Arron Reed, 13. Sam James, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Rob Du Preez ©, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Akker Van Der Merwe, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Jean-Luc Du Preez, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Daniel Du Preez
16. Tommy Taylor, 17. Simon McIntyre, 18. Joe Jones, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Jono Ross, 21. Joe Simpson, 22. Tom Curtis, 23. Byron McGuigan