Faf to lead Sale Sharks into battle
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Faf de Klerk will captain Sale Sharks in the absence of Jono Ross for Friday’s Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Ross received a one-match ban from the RFU for receiving three yellow cards this season.
An RFU statement read: “Sale Sharks’ Jono Ross has received three yellow cards for foul play in the 2020/21 season, contrary to law 9.27.
“Gareth Graham, sitting as a single judicial officer, considered Ross’ case on papers and gave the player a one-week suspension. He is free to play again on March 9.”
Sale Sharks sit fourth in the Premiership ahead of the visit of their northern counterparts Newcastle Falcons and Sale Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson seems to now be closer to his preferred Sale XV having made just two changes to his starting line-up.
In the forwards, Bevan Rodd and Curtis Langdon continue to impress the Sharks coaching staff and are named in the starting line-up again following try-scoring appearances against the Chiefs in Round Eleven. The Sale academy graduates line up alongside Will-Griff John to face the Falcons front-row, with Josh Beaumont and Lood De Jager lining up in the second row in an unchanged front five.
Cobus Wiese moves into the starting line-up at blindside flank, with the South African making his first appearance in the back row since Sale faced Wasps in December 2020. He is joined by Sam Dugdale at openside and Daniel du Preez at No.8.
Captain De Klerk will assist AJ MacGinty in igniting an unchanged Sale backline with Sam Hill and Sam James at inside and outside centre respectively along with Marland Yarde, Byron McGuigan and Luke James in the Sharks back three.
Akker van der Merwe returns to action as he is named as a front-row replacement alongside Ross Harrison and Coenie Oosthuizen. JP du Preez and Cameron Neild provide further forward cover. Raffi Quirke, Robert du Preez and Simon Hammersley are named as backline replacements for the Sharks.
Sale Sharks: 15 Luke James, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Sam Dugdale, 6 Cobus Wiese, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Josh Beaumont, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Curtis Langdon, 1 Bevan Rodd.
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Jean-Pierre du Preez, 20 Cameron Neild, 21 Raffi Quirke, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Simon Hammersley.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Mateo Carreras, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Callum Chick (captain), 7 John Hardie, 6 Rob Farrar, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Trevor Davison.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Darren Barry, 20 Connor Collett, 21 Michael Young, 22 Joel Matavesi, 23 Alex Tait.
Date: Friday, March 5:
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 20:00 (20.00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Assistant referees: John Meredith, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Trevor Fisher