Premiership: Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints


Alex Waller
Northampton’s Alex Waller returns after suffering an Achilles injury in training in February
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium Date: Friday, 20 November Kick-off: 20:00 GMT Coverage: Updates on BBC local radio and live scores on the BBC Sport website

Sale have five South Africa internationals in their starting XV as they profit from the Springboks pulling out of this year’s Rugby Championship.

But Steve Diamond’s side are without flanker Tom Curry, who starts for England against Ireland on Saturday.

Northampton captain and prop Alex Waller returns for his first game in nine months after an Achilles injury.

They are without Mikey Haywood (knee) and Courtney Lawes (ankle), but George Furbank returns from England to start.

Chris Boyd’s side lost their last seven matches of the 2019-20 Premiership campaign, though Sale have not won their opening game of a season since 2013.

Both clubs did not play their final game of last season because of coronavirus, but director of rugby Diamond says Sale have been cleared of wrongdoing in their handling of an outbreak last month.

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond told BBC Radio Manchester:

“We feel that it will be a season of attrition and our academy will be utilised enormously this year.

On having South African players available: “When the news came through it was disappointing for them but not so disappointing for me.

“It’s been a boost to us – we would’ve gone the first three league games and probably a European game without them.”

Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd told BBC Radio Northampton:

“We were so disappointed with the way we finished last season that there’s a real air of having an opportunity to start again.

“We’re certainly not at full strength and at any one time I reckon we’re five players short of where we were with last season’s squad numbers because of the financial bite of Covid.

“We’ve got a smaller squad and we’re going to rely much more heavily on our youngsters.”

Sale: L James; Solomona, S James, J V Rensburg, Hammersley; MacGinty, De Klerk; Morozov, Van der Merwe, Oosthuizen, Wiese, JL du Preez, Ross (capt), B Curry, D du Preez.

Replacements: Langdon, Rodd, Cooper-Woolley, Phillips, Postlethwaite, Cliff, R du Preez, McGuigan.

Northampton: Furbank; Tuala, Proctor, Francis, Collins; Grayson, Taylor; Waller (capt), Fish, Hill, Moon, Ratuniyarawa, Isiekwe, Wood, Harrison.

Replacements: Marshall, Auterac, Franks, Ribbans, Tonks, Mitchell, Dingwall, Mallinder.

Referee: Ian Tempest.

BBC News