TEAM NEWS | Sale Sharks v Bristol Bears

Centre Rekeiti Ma’asi-White makes his first Gallagher Premiership start while Rob du Preez switches to fly-half to replace the injured George Ford (knee) as Alex Sanderson makes just one change to his XV to face Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears on Friday night (KO 7.45pm, LIVE on TNT Sports). 

Sharks Director of Rugby has picked an unchanged forward pack from the round ten defeat at Northampton, as his side go in search of a 13th successive home win. 

In the front-row, England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, who scored for the second week running against Saints, starts between props Ross Harrison and Nick Schonert. 

The rest of the pack is unchanged with Cobus Wiese and Jonny Hill again teaming up in the second-row and the Premiership’s top tackler Ernst van Rhyn, captain Ben Curry and Jean-Luc du Preez in the back-row. 

With George Ford missing through injury, Gus Warr has Rob du Preez for company at half-back and they’ll have former Wasps man Ma’asi-White and Sam James outside them in the centres. 

It’s as you were in the back three with Tom Roebuck and Arron Reed starting on the wings, either side of full-back Joe Carpenter. 

Agustin Creevy returns to join props Tumy Onasanya and James Harper as the front-row replacements, with Josh Beaumont and Sam Dugdale covering the rest of the forwards. 

Backs Nye Thomas, Tom Curtis and Telusa Veainu will give Alex more options off the bench. 

Sale Sharks Starting XV:   

15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 12. Rekeiti Ma’asi-White, 11. Arron Reed, 10. Rob du Preez, 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. Agustin Creevy, 17. Tumy Onasanya, 18. James Harper, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Sam Dugdale, 21. Nye Thomas, 22. Tom Curtis, 23. Telusa Veainu.   

  • Sale’s only defeat in their last eight Premiership Rugby encounters with Bristol was 15-32 at Ashton Gate in January 2022.  
  • Bristol’s only victory in their last six visits to Salford Community Stadium was 10-9 in the EPCR Champions Cup in April 2022.  
  • The Bears won their most recent away game in Premiership Rugby 21-13 at Newcastle and have not won successive away games in the tournament since May 2021.  
  • Ernst van Rhyn has made more successful tackles than any other player this season (164). He has also made the most dominant tackles (16) with Ben Curry and Cobus Wiese in joint-second (15). 
  • Gus Warr has made more kicks that have been retained than any other player this season (20). He has also made the most contestable kicks (44). 
  • Sale Sharks have won more scrum penalties than any other team this season (27), all but four of which have been on their own feed. 

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