Argentina hooker Agustin Creevy makes his Sharks debut and England World Cup stars George Ford and Bevan Rodd also return to start as Sale look to get back to winning ways against Gloucester under the Friday night lights at the Salford Stadium (KO 7.45pm, LIVE on TNT Sports + BBC Radio Manchester).
Club captain Ben Curry also features in a matchday squad for the first time since he injured his hamstring in last season’s play-off semi-final against Leicester Tigers, while Sam James switches to full-back in the absence of Joe Carpenter (hamstring) and Tom O’Flaherty.
Former London Irish man Creevy starts alongside loosehead Rodd and tighthead Nick Schonert in an abrasive front-row.
Cobus Wiese and Jonny Hill team up once again in the second-row while there’s a return for Sam Dugdale in the back-row. Dugdale starts in the number seven shirt alongside Ernst van Rhyn and Dan du Preez (number eight).
Gus Warr continues at scrum-half and he’ll have Ford alongside him for the first time this season after the fly-half played a starring role in England’s World Cup campaign.
Ford’s return means skipper Rob du Preez will switch to outside centre, where he’ll team up with the ever-present Sam Bedlow.
In the back three, Arron Reed and Tom Roebuck start on the wings, while Sam James slots in at full-back.
Alex has again gone for a 6-2 split on the bench with Nathan Langdon, Si McIntyre and James Harper picked as the front-row replacements, and Josh Beaumont, Curry and Tom Ellis covering the rest of the forwards.
Nye Thomas and fellow England U20s back Alex Wills are the other replacements.
Sale Sharks Starting XV:
15. Sam James, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Rob du Preez ©, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Arron Reed, 10. George Ford, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Agustin Creevy, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Ernst van Rhyn, 7. Sam Dugdale, 8. Dan du Preez.
16. Nathan Langdon, 17. Si McIntyre, 18. James Harper, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Ben Curry, 21. Nye Thomas, 22. Alex Wills, 23. Tom Ellis.
- Both teams come into the round four clash with identical records – played three, won two, lost one.
- Sale have won their last eight Premiership games at the Salford Stadium.
- Gloucester’s only victory in their last six encounters with Sale was 33-32 at Kingsholm in October 2021.
- The winning margin in those six games has only once been more than three points.
- The Cherry and Whites have not won at Salford since October 2019.