New signings Manu Tuilagi and Sam Hill will make their Sale Sharks debuts when the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season resumes at Harlequins on Friday following a 159-layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Boss Steve Diamond has named his new midfield arrivals from Leicester and Exeter respectively in the starting line up alongside World Cup winner Lood de Jager, who will make his full club debut at the Stoop having made his debut off the bench in the March win over London Irish.
Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe and Will-Griff John make up a heavyweight Sharks front row for the trip to London, with an all-South African combination of Jean-Luc du Preez and de Jager providing power and experience behind them.
Club captain Jono Ross resumes his usual position at blindside flanker and is joined in a powerful back row by internationals Tom Curry and Daniel du Preez.
World Cup winner Faf de Klerk makes his first start for the club since January after recovering from a knee strain and will form a familiar partnership with Rob du Preez.
?? Lood makes his full debut
? Manu & Hilly in the middle
???? Fafster is back in the mix!
— Sale Sharks? (@SaleSharksRugby) August 13, 2020
Hill and Tuilagi will form the midfield and they have an experienced back three of Byron McGuigan, Marland Yarde and Simon Hammersley outside them.
Sharks boss Diamond said: “It’s fantastic to finally be back into the Premiership. We have trained for a long time now and everyone at the club is champing at the bit to get the season started again.
“I’m sure it will be a great occasion on Friday as we get things underway against Quins, Paul (Gustard, Harlequins’ boss) has a full squad to select from this time around, which is a stark contrast to when they visited us in January, so we will have to be firing on all cylinders to have a chance of pulling off a result away from home.”
SALE SHARKS (v Harlequins, Friday)
15. Simon Hammersley, 14. Byron McGuigan, 13. Manu Tuilagi, 12. Sam Hill, 11. Marland Yarde, 10. Rob du Preez, 9. Faf de Klerk; 1. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Akker van der Merwe, 3. Will-Griff John, 4. Jean-Luc du Preez, 5. Lood de Jager, 6. Jono Ross (capt) 7. Tom Curry, 8. Daniel du Preez.
16. Curtis Langdon, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19. James Phillips, 20. Ben Curry, 21. Will Cliff, 22. AJ MacGinty, 23. Denny Solomona.
The life of @MarkyJ13 fell apart when he learned of the horrific circumstances of his birth.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) June 21, 2020
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