Sale boss Alex Sanderson has given the entire starting XV that demolished Scarlets last Sunday in Wales in the Heineken Champions Cup round of 16 a vote of confidence by announcing an unchanged team for this Saturday’s quarter-final in France versus La Rochelle.
The Sharks have been disadvantaged by having just a six-day turnaround in between games compared to the eight days afforded to La Rochelle following their win at Gloucester, but Sanderson has placed his faith in his players finding the necessary gas to put it up to their French hosts who have made six changes.
Those alterations include a recall at full-back for France No15 Brice Dulin while the entire front row of Reda Wardi, Pierre Bourgarit and Uini Atonio is promoted from the bench as is livewire Test back row Gregory Alldritt and centre Geoffrey Doumayrou.
Saturday will only be a second-ever Champions Cup quarter-final appearance for Sale, this latest one coming 15 years after they lost 11-6 to beaten 2006 finalists Biarritz in San Sebastian.
Quizzed on the limited Sale preparation time this week compared to La Rochelle, Sanderson said: “We prepped well for a few weeks to be able to see it through for this weekend. That is just the necessity and the pragmatism of the week that we have got… we’re in a cup final and I can’t wait.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 9, 2021
LA ROCHELLE: 15. Brice Dulin; 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12. Levani Botia, 11. Raymond Rhule; 10. Ihaia West, 9. Tawera Kerr Barlow; 1. Reda Wardi, 2. Pierre Bourgarit, 3. Uini Atonio, 4. Romain Sazy (capt), 5. Will Skelton, 6. Gregory Alldritt, 7. Kevin Gourdon, 8. Victor Vito. Reps: 16. Facundo Bosch, 17. Dany Priso, 18. Arthur Joly, 19. Thomas Lavault, 20. Wiaan Liebenberg, 21. Thomas Berjon, 22. Jules Plisson, 23. Pierre Aguillon.
SALE: 15. Simon Hammersley; 14. Byron McGuigan, 13. Sam James, 12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11. Marland Yarde; 10. AJ MacGinty, 9. Faf de Klerk; 1. Bevan Rodd, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Willgriff John, 4. Jacobus Wiese, 5. Josh Beaumont (capt), 6. Jean-Luc du Preez, 7. Tom Curry, 8. Dan du Preez. Reps: 16. Curtis Langdon, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. J Phillips, 20. Cameron Neild, 21. Raphael Quirke, 22. Robert du Preez, 23. Luke James.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 1, 2021
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