TEAM NEWS – Sale Sharks v La Rochelle

ACADEMY PROP Tumy Onasanya makes his first Champions Cup start while Luke Cowan-Dickie, Nick Schonert, George Ford and Tom Roebuck return to the starting XV as Your Sharks prepare to face back-to-back Europeans champions La Rochelle at a packed-out Salford Stadium on Sunday (KO 1pm, Sunday 21st January, LIVE on TNT, ITV). 

Elsewhere, Sam James switches to full-back while Dan du Preez and Tom Ellis return from injury to take their places on the replacements bench. 

Hooker Cowan-Dickie marks his return to the England squad with a starting place against La Rochelle. He’ll pack down in a front row with Onasanya and Schonert. 

Ben Bamber starts with Jonny Hill in the second-row and they’ll have an all homegrown, unchanged back-row behind them, with Sam Dugdale and captain Ben Curry joined by Josh Beaumont at number 8. 

In the backs, Gus Warr and George Ford combine again at half-back and they’ll have Sam Bedlow and Rob du Preez outside them in the centres. 

It’s an all homegrown back three with Roebuck marking his Six Nations call-up with a return to the wing alongside new Scotland call-up Arron Reed and full-back James. 

On the bench, Agustin Creevy, Asher Opoku-Fordjour and James Harper are the front-row replacements, while Ellis and Dan du Preez will cover the rest of the forwards. 

Academy duo Nye Thomas and Rekeiti Ma’asi-White join the experienced Telusa Veainu on the replacement backs. 

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. Tumy Onasanya, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Ben Bamber, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Sam Dugdale, 7. Ben Curry ©, 8. Josh Beaumont.   

Replacements:   

16. Agustin Creevy, 17. Asher Opoku-Fordjour, 18. James Harper, 19. Tom Ellis, 20. Dan du Preez, 21. Nye Thomas, 22. Rekeiti Ma’asi-White, 23. Telusa Veainu. 

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