TEAM NEWS – Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers

Tom Curry and Akker van der Merwe return to action after being rested as Sale Sharks make five changes to the side that dispatched Newcastle Falcons on the final day of the regular season for their Gallagher Premiership semi-final clash against Leicester Tigers on Sunday.

Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson has also recalled Gus Warr, Si McIntyre and fit-again Nick Schonert as his side prepare for their first home semi-final in seventeen years at the AJ Bell Stadium. (Kick-off 3:00pm – Live on BT Sport) 

Ahead of a visit from the current Premiership champions, Sanderson opts for a complete change in the front row as Schonert returns from a knee injury to line up alongside Van der Merwe and McIntyre. 

The second row remains unchanged with the powerful partnership of Jean-Luc du Preez and Jonny Hill paying dividends for the Sharks at the back end of the season. 

Imposing England international Tom Curry returns to the Sale back-row in place of Sam Dugdale and is named at blindside flanker while twin brother Ben captains the team from openside. Jono Ross wears the number 8 shirt in his final game at the AJ Bell Stadium. 

On the back of his nomination for breakthrough player of the season at Wednesday’s Premiership Rugby Awards, Gus Warr returns to the Sanderson’s starting XV at scrum-half and will look to steady the Sharks’ ship alongside two-time Premiership winner George Ford. 

Ford has former Tigers team-mate Manu Tuilagi for company at inside centre with Rob du Preez offering further attacking options in the thirteen shirt. A homegrown trio of Arron Reed, Tom Roebuck and Joe Carpenter make up the Sharks back three. 

Sale name six internationals as replacements this weekend. Scotland’s Ewan Ashman, who will also play his final game at the AJ Bell, lines up alongside England international Bevan Rodd and multi-capped Springbok Coenie Oosthuizen to cover the front-row.  

Josh Beaumont and Daniel du Preez offer further forward cover for the crunch match in Salford, whilst Raffi Quirke, Sam James and Tom O’Flaherty offer a serious energy boost from the bench. 

Sale Sharks Starting XV: 

15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Rob du Preez, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Arron Reed, 10. George Ford, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Simon McIntyre, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Jean-Luc du Preez, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Tom Curry, 7. Ben Curry (C), 8. Jono Ross. 


16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Bevan Rodd, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Daniel du Preez, 21. Raffi Quirke, 22. Sam James, 23. Tom O’Flaherty 

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