TEAM NEWS | Sale Sharks v Stade Francais

Manu Tuilagi returns after a hand injury while Ben Bamber starts his first Champions Cup game, as Alex Sanderson makes six changes to his side to face Stade Francais in the opening match of the 23/24 Investec Champions Cup on Sunday (KO 1pm, LIVE on ITV, TNT Sports). 

Elsewhere, Tom O’Flaherty starts on the wing, Sam James features at outside centre and fresh from his impressive cameo against Harlequins, there’s a place on the bench for 19 year old prop Asher Opoku-Fordjour. 

Tommy Taylor returns to start at hooker, with Si McIntyre and Nick Schonert either side of him in the front row. 

Bamber starts in the second-row alongside Jonny Hill, and captain Ben Curry is fit to play in the back row alongside blindside flanker Sam Dugdale and number 8 Dan du Preez. 

Gus Warr and George Ford continue their partnership at half-back and in the centres, fit-again England man Tuilagi and James start together for the first time this season. 

O’Flaherty joins Joe Carpenter and Tom Roebuck in the back three. 

Agustin Creevy, Ross Harrison and Opoku-Fordjour are picked as the front-row replacements while Josh Beaumont and Cobus Wiese will cover the rest of the forwards. 

Raffi Quirke, Tom Curtis and Connor Doherty are the backs replacements. 

Sale Sharks Starting XV:   

15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. George Ford, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Si McIntyre, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Ben Bamber, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Sam Dugdale, 7. Ben Curry ©, 8. Dan du Preez.   

Replacements:   

16. Agustin Creevy, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Asher Opoku-Fordjour, 19. Cobus Wiese, 20. Josh Beaumont, 21. Raffi Quirke, 22. Tom Curtis, 23. Connor Doherty.   

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