TEAM NEWS – Sale Sharks v Northmapton Saints

Rob du Preez is named as captain while new boy Ernst van Rhyn makes his league debut and Raffi Quirke gets the nod at scrum-half as Alex Sanderson picks his Sharks side to kick off the new Gallagher Premiership season against Northampton Saints (live on TNT Sports, KO 1.30pm, Sunday 15th October). 

Lock Cobus Wiese makes the bench once again, after returning from a seven-month injury lay-off in last week’s win against Ampthill in the Premiership Rugby Cup. 

Props Si McIntyre and Nick Schonert are picked either side of hooker Tommy Taylor in an experienced front-row to face Phil Dowson’s Saints. 

In the second-row, former Stormer van Rhyn teams up with England lock Jonny Hill, and they’ll pack down in front of a powerful back-row made up of blindside JL du Preez, number 8 Dan du Preez and last week’s four try hero Sam Dugdale. 

At half-back, England scrum-half Raffi Quirke keeps the nine shirt after a livewire performance against Ampthill, and he’ll have skipper Rob du Preez for company. 

The two Sams – Bedlow and James – will combine again in the centres and in the back three, Joe Carpenter starts at full-back in between wingers Tom Roebuck and Tom O’Flaherty. 

On the replacements bench, hooker Ethan Caine and props Ross Harrison and James Harper provide front-row cover. Josh Beaumont and the returning Wiese are the other back-up forwards. 

Scrum-half Gus Warr, winger Arron Reed and fly-half Tom Curtis make up the rest of the bench.   

Sale Sharks Starting XV:   

15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Rob du Preez ©, 9. Raffi Quirke; 1. Si McIntyre, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Ernst van Rhyn, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. JL du Preez, 7. Sam Dugdale, 8. Dan du Preez.   


16. Ethan Caine, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. James Harper, 19. Cobus Wiese, 20. Josh Beaumont, 21. Gus Warr, 22. Tom Curtis, 23. Arron Reed.   


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