Sale out-half AJ MacGinty has been ruled out for up to four months after dislocating his shoulder in Friday night’s 30-23 Heineken European Cup pool defeat by La Rochelle.

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Steve Diamond, the Sale director of rugby, insists the club have the resources to cover for the loss of the US Eagles No10 who has been sharing the starting role with Springbok Rob du Preez.

MacGinty has been struggling to stay fit in recent seasons with his very physical style of out-half play putting him in danger – he is a No10 who doesn’t shirk defensive duties which puts him harm’s way.

MacGinty was sidelined for twelve weeks in October 2018 by surgery on his shoulder and he now faces another lengthy period of rehabilitation. He will see a specialist on his return from France to assess the extent of the damage suffered at La Rochelle.

Diamond said: “It’s a dislocated shoulder for AJ and he will probably be out for three or four months which is disappointing, but we have other players in the squad who can play there.

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“He was controlling play very well in the first half and is a very good defender. We didn’t play Faf de Klerk and left 10 players in England and they will play next weekend at home to Glasgow.

“We played well in the first half and then made two errors which La Rochelle scored tries from and they didn’t have to work very hard, but in the second half they overpowered us for 20 minutes. 

“Seven of our matchday 23 were 18-years-old and I have to run the club that way with my kids coming through and to get experience in such an environment was fantastic. On the night we were beaten by a better team.”

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Diamond rested key players for the trip to France which left him with one serious injury and prop Valery Morozov facing a ban after he was sent off. He was shown a red card for driving his shoulder with force into the head of Lopeti Timani. Timani was shown a yellow card after a neck roll on Morozov.

England wing Chris Ashton was shown a yellow card having replaced MacGinty after 32 minutes to increase Sale’s problems, but they still managed to nab a losing bonus from their trip.

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