Home Premiership 2017-18 Preview – Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs

Preview – Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs

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Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond has made five changes to his starting line-up for Friday’s clash with Exeter Chiefs in Salford.

The Sharks return to Premiership action after suffering a narrow 27-24 defeat at Lyon in the Challenge Cup and Diamond has opted to make some alterations as his side look to return to the victory trail.

In the back-line, Will Addison returns at full-back where he replaces Mike Haley, who drops down to the bench. Addison also takes over the captaincy from Faf de Klerk, who led the side against Lyon.

The only other back-line change sees Byron McGuigan taking over from Josh Charnley on the left wing.

In the forwards, there’s a new-look back row with Josh Strauss, Tom Curry and Jono Ross coming into the run-on side. Strauss is preferred to Sam Moore at number eight while Curry comes in for his brother, Ben, on the openside flank and Ross replaces Cameron Neild on the blindside.

Meanwhile, the visitors have made slight tweaks to their run-on side after an impressive away Champions Cup win at Montpellier.

Carl Rimmer, Harry Williams, Ollie Akins and Sam Simmonds all come into the pack, while behind the sole change sees James Short start on the wing.

Exeter boss Rob Baxter expects a tough duel against the Sharks.

Baxter insisted that it will be a “huge test” of character for his players to rise to ahead of kick-off.

“Sale at home are a huge test of your attitude and your commitment to getting out there and working hard,” he warned.

“That said, I’d like to think that is one of our strengths. Certainly I’d like to think we can go there, challenge the players to front up, whilst at the same time be ourselves and look to impose our game on them.

“That’s what we have talked a lot about this week in the build up to the game, so now it’s up to the players to show they are capable of doing that.”

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Will Addison (c), 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 George Nott, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Cameron Neild, 22 Will Cliff, 23 Mike Haley

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Nic White, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Sam Simmonds, 6 Don Armand, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Carl Rimmer
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Sam Skinner, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Tom Hendrickson, 23 Tom O’Flaherty

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