TEAM NEWS – Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks

Cobus Wiese makes his first Sharks start in more than seven months while Gus Warr gets the nod at scrum-half as Alex Sanderson makes two changes to his XV to face Leicester Tigers on Saturday in round two of the Gallagher Premiership (live on TNT Sports, 3.05pm KO). 

Jean-Luc du Preez misses out after picking up a hamstring injury against Northampton last time out, meaning Ernst van Rhyn moves to the back row to make way for Wiese to start at lock. 

In total, the Sharks matchday 23 features 16 academy players. 

The Sharks Director of Rugby says his team have to be up for a set piece battle this weekend as they prepare to face a wounded Tigers team that came up short in round one against Bristol. 

“Bristol forced Leicester into errors through line speed and defensive intensity,” he said. “It was consistent and aggressive defence and that forces a frontline team like Tigers, who rely on collision dominance, just to check their forward momentum. 

“Leicester will fix that. With their talent and depth they’ll fix that. They don’t have many chinks to their game. They’re a really well drilled and well-structured team who understand their game and what makes them competitive. 

“In many ways they’re similar to us. There’s going to be a set piece battle and it’s up to us to get more dominance in the mauls and scrums than them. We need to win more collisions than them over 80 minutes and if we don’t, we’ll get the result we don’t want.” 

Alex has named an unchanged front-row for the weekend with hooker Tommy Taylor fit to start in between props Si McIntyre and Nick Schonert. 

Wiese, who suffered a serious knee injury against London Irish in March, starts alongside Jonny Hill in the second-row. 

And in the back-row, Van Rhyn, who made a league-leading five dominant tackles against Saints, starts at blindside flanker alongside openside Sam Dugdale and number eight Dan du Preez.  

After an electric cameo off the bench last week, Gus Warr starts with captain and round one man of the match Rob du Preez. 

The rest of the backs are unchanged with Sam James and Sam Bedlow once again teaming up in the centres, and Tom O’Flaherty, Tom Roebuck and Joe Carpenter combining in the back three. 

Ethan Caine, Ross Harrison and James Harper are the front-row replacements, with Rouban Birch coming in to join Josh Beaumont to cover the rest of the forwards. 

Raffi Quirke, Tom Curtis and Arron Reed are the backs replacements. 

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. Gus Warr; 1. Si McIntyre, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Ernst van Rhyn, 7. Sam Dugdale, 8. Dan du Preez.   


16. Ethan Caine, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. James Harper, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Rouban Birch, 21. Raffi Quirke, 22. Tom Curtis, 23. Arron Reed.   

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