England stars Manu Tuilagi and Ben Curry return to the Sharks line-up after international duty while Dan du Preez and Akker van der Merwe start after injury as Alex Sanderson picks a powerful side to face Cardiff Rugby in the last 16 of the European Challenge Cup on Saturday (LIVE on BT Sport – 8pm KO).
Skipper Ben Curry comes into the back-row, replacing Jean-Luc du Preez who switches to lock to fill the gap left by Cobus Wiese’s season-ending knee injury. Elsewhere Gus Warr returns at scrum-half and George Ford continues at fly-half with Rob du Preez outside Tuilagi in the centre.
After almost three weeks since Sharks’ last game, Alex has made two changes in the front-row for the Cardiff Arms Park clash.
Loose head prop Bevan Rodd keeps his place and he’s joined by hooker Van der Merwe and tight head prop Nick Schonert.
Jean-Luc du Preez joins Jonny Hill in the second-row and they’ve got a back-row of Jono Ross, captain Curry and Dan du Preez for company.
Warr and Ford team up at half-back with Tuilagi and Rob du Preez in the centres.
The back three is unchanged from the Premiership defeat at London Irish with wingers Tom Roebuck and Tom O’Flaherty either side of full-back Joe Carpenter.
Ewan Ashman, Coenie Oosthuizen and Simon McIntyre make up the front row replacements, while Josh Beaumont and Sam Dugdale cover the rest of the forwards.
Raffi Quirke, Sam James and Arron Reed are the backs replacements.
Sale Sharks starting XV:
15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Rob du Preez, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. George Ford, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Jean-Luc du Preez, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Jono Ross, 7. Ben Curry ©, 8. Dan du Preez.
16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Simon McIntyre, 18. Nick Schonert, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Sam Dugdale, 21. Raffi Quirke, 22. Sam James, 23. Arron Reed.