TEAM NEWS | Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks

England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie starts in the front-row while there’s a recall for Sam James at outside centre as Your Sharks look to wrap up 2023 with a big performance against high-flying Northampton Saints (KO 3.05pm, live on TNT Sports). 

Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson has opted to switch Rob du Preez to the number 12 shirt to cover for the injured Manu Tuilagi and Telusa Veainu makes the replacements bench alongside Luke James, who appears in a Premiership matchday squad for the first time this season. 

After dominating Saracens’ scrum, Alex has opted for the same props for the trip to Northampton, with Ross Harrison and Nick Schonert lining up either side of Cowan-Dickie, who scored a crucial try against Saracens last time out. 

Cobus Wiese and Jonny Hill start together again in the second-row, while the back-row remains unchanged from the win against the champions, with number 8 Jean-Luc du Preez packing down between flankers Ernst van Rhyn and captain Ben Curry, who made three dominant tackles in the round nine win. 

Gus Warr, who has made more kicks in play than any other player this season (119), starts at scrum-half alongside fly-half George Ford. 

Alex has picked a creative centre combination, with Rob du Preez combining for the first time this season with Sam James. 

And it’s an unchanged back-three again, with Joe Carpenter starting at full-back and Arron Reed and Tom Roebuck picked on the wings. 

Tommy Taylor and young props Tumy Onasanya and Asher Opoku-Fordjour make up the front-row replacements, with Josh Beaumont and Sam Dugdale covering the rest of the forwards. 

Backs Nye Thomas, Luke James and Veainu will give Alex more options off the bench. 

Sale Sharks Starting XV:   

15. Joe Carpenter , 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 12. Rob du Preez, 11. Arron Reed, 10. George Ford, 9. Gus Warr 1. Ross Harrison, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Ernst van Rhyn, 7. Ben Curry ©, 8. Jean-Luc du Preez.   


16. Tommy Taylor, 17. Tumy Onasanya, 18. Asher Opoku-Fordjour, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Sam Dugdale, 21. Nye Thomas, 22. Luke James, 23. Telusa Veainu.   

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