Alex Sanderson makes five changes to his starting line-up as Sale Sharks prepare to face Newcastle Falcons in their final match of the regular Gallagher Premiership season on Saturday. (Kick-off 4:00pm – Live on PRTV)
The Sharks return home to the AJ Bell Stadium this weekend for only the third time in five months and Sale supremo Sanderson has named an experienced side as the club prepare for their sold-out home semi-final on Sunday 14th May.
Four of the Sharks’ five changes come in the forwards and the Sale coaching team opt for a complete switch up in the front-row ahead of the Falcons’ trip to Manchester. Bevan Rodd, Ewan Ashman and Coenie Oosthuizen all start, replacing Simon McIntyre, Akker van der Merwe and the injured Nick Schonert in the Sharks pack.
Elsewhere in the pack, Jean-Luc du Preez makes his 100th Sale Sharks appearance and is combined with Jonny Hill at lock to maintain a powerful second-row partnership. Jono Ross captains the side in his final regular game for Sale and lines up at number 8 with two more milestone men. Sam Dugdale is named at blindside flanker for his 50th Sharks appearance whilst Ben Curry plays his 150th Sale game at openside.
The final change to Sanderson’s starting XV comes at scrum-half as Raffi Quirke steps in to replace Gus Warr. Quirke is named alongside George Ford – making his home debut – at halfback and is the only new face in an otherwise unchanged Sharks back-line.
Manu Tuilagi and Robert du Preez continue to impress in Sale’s midfield and are named again in what is developing into a devastating centre combination for the Sharks. Academy trio Tom Roebuck, Arron Reed and Joe Carpenter make up the back three.
On the bench Ethan Caine, Simon McIntyre and James Harper cover the front-row with Josh Beaumont, Tom Ellis and Daniel du Preez offering further forward cover in a 6-2 split.
Outgoing club legend Will Cliff is named as backs cover alongside Sam James.
Sale Sharks Starting XV:
15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Robert du Preez, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Arron Reed, 10. George Ford, 9. Raffi Quirke; 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Ewan Ashman, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 4. Jean-Luc du Preez, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Sam Dugdale, 7. Ben Curry, 8. Jono Ross (C).
16. Ethan Caine, 17. Simon McIntyre, 18. James Harper, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Daniel du Preez, 21. Tom Ellis, 22. Will Cliff, 23. Sam James