TEAM NEWS – Sale Sharks v Stade Toulousain

Jono Ross replaces the injured Tom Curry in the back-row and full-back Joe Carpenter starts a match for the first time in over a month as Alex Sanderson makes two changes to the team that toppled Harlequins for Saturday’s visit of French giants Toulouse (1pm KO, live on BT Sport).

England scrum-half Raffi Quirke also features as a replacement for the first time since breaking his wrist against Gloucester in November and he’s joined on the bench for the Heineken Champions Cup round three clash by flanker Sam Dugdale.

Alex has picked an unchanged front-row for the third consecutive game, with Si McIntyre, and Nick Schonert lining up either side of hooker Akker Van Der Merwe.

Cobus Wiese partners Jonny Hill once more in the second-row ‘boiler room’ and they’re supported by a back-row of captain Ben Curry at 7, Jono Ross at 6 and Jean-Luc Du Preez at Number 8.

Gus Warr retains the starting 9 shirt after his remarkable run of good form and will reignite his rivalry with 2021 World Player of the Year Antoine Dupont. He will again be accompanied at half-back by December’s Gallagher Premiership player of the month Rob Du Preez at 10.

An unchanged centre partnership sees fans’ favourites Manu Tuilagi and Sam James combining again.

Full-back Joe Carpenter is named in the starting team for the first time since he injured his hamstring against Ulster in mid-December, while Arron Reed and Tom O’Flaherty keep their places in the back three.

On the bench the replacement front row of Ewan Ashman, Bevan Rodd and James Harper is unchanged. Josh Beaumont and Sam Dugdale complete the forward replacements.

Raffi Quirke makes his timely return from injury to take his place as the scrum-half replacement, he is joined by Tom Curtis and Luke James.

Sale Sharks Starting XV:

15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom O’Flaherty, 13. Sam James, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Arron Reed, 10. Rob Du Preez, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Simon McIntyre, 2. Akker Van Der Merwe, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Jono Ross, 7. Ben Curry ©, 8. Jean-Luc Du Preez


16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Bevan Rodd, 18. James Harper, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Sam Dugdale, 21. Raffi Quirke, 22. Tom Curtis, 23. Luke James.

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