TEAM NEWS | Bristol Bears v Sale Sharks

George Ford makes his long-awaited debut for Sale, while Jason Woodward also starts for the first time and Springbok prop Coenie Oosthuizen returns from injury, as Senior Academy Coach Gareth Harris names a mix of youth and experience for the final Premiership Rugby Cup pool clash against Bristol Bears.

After more than seven months out with an achilles injury, England fly-half Ford starts in the number 10 shirt against the Bears while club stalwart Will Cliff returns to the bench after his own injury troubles, in a game the Sharks need to win by 29 points or more to guarantee a home semi-final.

Harris has named an experienced front-row for the Ashton Gate clash, with England returnee Bevan Rodd and the fit-again Oosthuizen lining up either side of Tommy Taylor.

Former Bears Ben Bamber and Alex Groves will pack down in the second row, with an all-Sharks academy back-row in Ewan Murphy, captain Sam Dugdale and Rouban Birch for company.

It’s England internationals all the way at half-back as Ford teams up with scrum-half Raffi Quirke.

Sam Hill and Tom Curtis combine in the centres while in the back three, Elliot Gourlay and Tom Roebuck start on the wings, with debutant Woodward at full-back.

The bench is a mix of youth and experience with Harry Thompson, Tumy Onasanya and Joe Jones offering front row cover.

Dom Barrow and Will Riley will cover the rest of the forwards, while Cliff, Ryan Mills and Joe Bedlow are the backs replacements.

Sale Sharks Starting XV:  

15. Jason Woodward, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Tom Curtis, 12. Sam Hill, 11. Elliot Gourlay, 10. George Ford, 9. Raffi Quirke; 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 4. Ben Bamber, 5. Alex Groves, 6. Ewan Murphy, 7. Sam Dugdale ©, 8. Rouban Birch


16. Harry Thompson, 17. Tumy Onasanya, 18. Joe Jones, 19. Dom Barrow, 20. Will Riley, 21. Will Cliff, 22. Ryan Mills, 23. Joe Bedlow.

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