Sale have suffered another serious injury blow as they bid to reach the Gallaher Premiership play-offs with flanker Ben Curry ruled out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury.

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Sale, currently in the fourth and final play-off qualification place, are on 59 points along with Bristol in fifth and will face Northampton on Tuesday night and Worcester, in the final regular season match on Sunday, without one of their most influential players.

The club had already been hit by the loss of Lood de Jager, the Springbok World Cup winning lock, who has returned to South Africa for a third shoulder reconstruction, and now Sale have been told Curry is out for between three to six weeks after he was injured in the Premiership Rugby Cup win over Harlequins last Monday. It means Sale will not be able to unleash the Curry twins – Ben and England flanker Tom – on the opposition, reducing their break down ball-winning ability.

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It makes it imperative that Tom Curry stays fit for the end of the regular season and the potential play-off semi-final which Sale face significant pressure to achieve given their heavy 37-22Premiership defeat against Bath. It has left them two points behind third-placed Wasps who tackle Harlequins tomorrow night while Bristol are enjoying the plaudits for making the European Challenge Cup final where they will meet Toulon on October 16.

In a bid to clinch that qualification spot, Sale are set to name a powerful back division to take on a struggling Northampton side that has forgotten how to win at home. RugbyPass understands Sale will name Rohan Janse van Rensburg, their hard running centre, on the right-wing against Northampton with England powerhouse Manu Tuilagi partnered by Sam James in the centre with No.10 Rob Du Preez joining his twin brothers Jean-Luc and Dan in the team where will link up with World Cup-winning scrum-half Faf de Klerk whose try helped Sale lift the Premiership Rugby Cup against Harlequins.

With Ben Curry out, Tom starts in the back row alongside captain Jono Ross and Dan du Preez who has recaptured the ball carrying form that has put him in line for a Springbok recall.

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