TEAM NEWS – Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks

Alex Sanderson has named his side to face Newcastle Falcons as the Sharks return to Gallagher Premiership action on Friday night. The Sale supremo makes five changes to his starting XV after a testing trip to Toulouse in the Heineken Champions Cup.

The Sharks will be looking to find their edge as they return to domestic competition following a heavy defeat in France with a string of Sharks regulars, including full-back Luke James, returning to action at Kingston Park.

Sanderson makes three changes to the pack ahead of Friday’s trip to the north east, as Ewan Ashman, Ben Curry and Daniel du Preez all return to freshen up the Sale forwards.

Scotland international Ashman comes in at hooker and lines up alongside Bevan Rodd and Nick Schonert at loosehead and tighthead respectively, with the front-row trio bolstered by the imposing presence of Jonny Hill and Cobus Wiese in the second row.

Ben Curry returns to captain the side, replacing twin brother Tom for Friday night’s fixture. The flanker lines up alongside Jono Ross who retains his place from the Champions Cup. The ever imposing Daniel du Preez returns at number 8 in place of Jean-Luc.

Gus Warr and Robert du Preez look to continue in their rich vein of form and will marshal the side at halfback tomorrow.

In the backs, Ryan Mills makes his Gallagher Premiership debut for Sale at outside centre and lines up alongside Sam Hill, who keeps his spot in the absence of Manu Tuilagi following the England international’s head injury eleven days ago.

Arron Reed continues to impress and is named on the wing alongside Tom O’Flaherty with Luke James making his long-awaited return at full-back.

On the bench, Akker van der Merwe, Ross Harrsson and Joe Jones provide plenty of bulk to cover the front-row with Josh Beaumont and Jean-Luc du Preez acting as further forward replacements.

In his penultimate game before retirement, Joe Simpson takes the 21 shirt to cover Gus Warr, with Tom Curtis and Byron McGuigan providing options for Sanderson in the backs.

Sale Sharks Starting XV:

15, Luke James, 14. Arron Reed, 13. Ryan Mills, 12. Sam Hill, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Ewan Ashman, 3. Nic Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Jono Ross, 7. Ben Curry (C), 8. Daniel du Preez


  1. Akker van der Merwe, 17, Ross Harrison, 18. Joe Jones, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Jean-Luc du Preez, 21. Joe Simpson, 22. Tom Curtis, 23. Byron McGuigan

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