Mark Wilson is set to make his first Sale Sharks start after Steve Diamond made four changes to his starting line-up for Friday night’s Gallagher Premiership clash with Leicester Tigers.
After picking up an injury at the World Cup in Japan that required surgery following the tournament, the England back row came off the bench in recent weeks against Saracens in both the Premiership Cup and in the Premiership.
He now takes Ben Curry’s place in the starting line-up and packs down alongside Daniel du Preez and Jono Ross, ending a four-month wait to make the starting side following his season-long loan switch from Newcastle.
Diamond said: “Leicester are a tough opposition and despite their rocky start to the season, they are a team with huge pedigree and should always be respected.
“After a good win at Welford Road last time out, the Tigers will be heading north full of confidence, so we need to make sure we are really on the ball tonight and nullify their threats effectively.”
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Leicester, meanwhile, have handed Dan Cole the captaincy in the absence of the suspended Tom Youngs, who received a four-week ban for foul play in last weekend’s win over Wasps.
Tatafu Polota-Nau replaces Youngs at hooker, and there are places for Tommy Reffell and Ifereimi Boladau in the forward pack with Jordan Taufua and Sione Kalamafoni ruled out by injury this week.
Tigers also recall Noel Reid and Jordan Olowofela to the backline and given a Premiership debut to academy graduate and England under-20s cap Jack van Poortvliet.
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Coach Geordan Murphy said: “We have to scrap for everything – we did that well last weekend. It was a gnarly performance against Wasps in tricky conditions and we were pleased by that.
“We’ve got five players away (on Test duty), we’ve got a few ruled out by injury this week, but it’s a competitive group and players have been putting up their hands in training every week which is just the way it should be.”
SALE SHARKS: 15. Simon Hammersley; 14. Chris Ashton, 13. Sam James, 12. Luke James, 11. Marland Yarde; 10. Rob du Preez, 9. Will Cliff; 1. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Rob Webber, 3. Jake Cooper-Woolley, 4. Bryn Evans, 5. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Jono Ross (capt) 7. Mark Wilson, 8. Daniel du Preez. Reps: 16. Curtis Langdon, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Will-Griff John, 19. James Phillips, 20. Ben Curry, 21. Gus Warr, 22. Tom Curtis, 23. Denny Solomona.
LEICESTER TIGERS: 15. Telusa Veainu; 14. Jonah Holmes, 13. Jaco Taute, 12. Kyle Eastmond, 11. Jordan Olowofela; 10. Noel Reid, 9. Jack van Poortvliet; 1. Greg Bateman, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3. Dan Cole (capt), 4. Tomas Lavanini, 5. Will Spencer, 6. Hanro Liebenberg, 7. Tommy Reffell, 8. Ifereimi Boladau. Reps: 16. Jake Kerr, 17. Nephi Leatigaga, 18. Joe Heyes, 19. Joe Batley, 20. Harry Wells, 21. Sam Lewis, 22. Harry Simmons, 23. Johnny McPhillips.
WATCH: RugbyPass went behind the scenes at Leicester to see how they develop players such as Jack van Poortvliet
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