Sale Sharks are bolstered by the return of two World Cup finalists as they look to ignite their Champions Cup challenge against La Rochelle on Sunday.


The Sharks were defeated 13-7 in their round one trip to Glasgow and must topple their Pool 2 rivals from France at the AJ Bell Stadium if they to stay in contention for a quarter-final place.

World Cup winner Faf de Klerk is restored at scrum-half following his heroics in Japan and also present as one of nine changes is England’s Tom Curry at openside.

Also back are Red Rose wings Chris Ashton and Denny Solomona, but Sale have confirmed that Josh Beaumont will be out for up to five months because of a serious knee injury that required surgery.

Video Spacer

“It’s fantastic to be back in the Champions Cup at the AJ Bell and after the disappointment of losing the arm wrestle at Glasgow, the lads will be looking to bounce back,” director of rugby Steve Diamond said.

“La Rochelle are a hugely physical team and we had a great match with them last year in the Challenge Cup quarter-final, so we know what they are about.


“We just have to make sure we get our basics right and perform this weekend.”

Gloucester face an uphill task to progress after losing their Pool Five opener against Toulouse and must travel to Montpellier to revive their aspirations of reaching the knockout phase.

Head coach Johan Ackermann has made 11 changes with only full-back Jason Woodward, centre Chris Harris, number eight Freddie Clarke and lock Gerbrandt Grobler surviving.


“There’s no easy game in this group and even more so now that Montpellier also lost their first game,” Ackermann said.

“They will probably want to fix that this weekend at home and we are their next opposition.

“So we know that we’ll be up against a highly-motivated side. They will be under a bit of pressure.”

Sale Sharks Starting XV

15. Simon Hammersley, 14. Denny Solomona, 13. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12. Rob du Preez, 11. Chris Ashton, 10. AJ MacGinty, 9. Faf de Klerk; 1. Ross Harrsion, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 4. Bryn Evans, 5. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Ben Curry, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Jono Ross (Capt)


16. Rob Webber, 17. Valery Morozov, 18. Will-Griff John, 19. James Phillips, 20. Matt Postlethwaite, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Luke James, 23. Marland Yarde

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now