Sale short on Boks for crucial clash
PREVIEW: Sale Sharks have named their side to face Worcester Warriors in the clubs’ rearranged Premiership final round fixture scheduled for Wednesday.
Following a confirmed 19 positive COVID-19 cases at Sale last week, Steve Diamond’s squad options are in short supply. However, the club are able to field a COVID compliant matchday squad for the fixture.
Sale need a victory to qualify for the play-offs.
For the crucial clash, Sale will be without Springboks Faf de Klerk, Akker van der Merwe, Coenie Oosthuizen and Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
Another South African in the form of Cobus Wiese is also missing from the matchday squad.
Valery Morozov, Cameron Neild and Ross Harrison make up the front row for the Sharks highly stakes clash with Worcester tomorrow, with Morozov making the switch to tighthead prop for the first time since joining the club.
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Jean-Luc du Preez and Matt Postlethwaite combine to form a powerful lock partnership for tomorrow’s match, with the Sharks deploying a familiar back row of Jono Ross, Tom Curry and Daniel du Preez for the rescheduled fixture.
Will Cliff and Robert du Preez link up in the half-back roles, the trusted pair know each other well after a string of solid performances together throughout early stages of the 19/20 season gave the Sharks a platform for success early in the campaign.
Premiership stalwart Cliff and Springbok du Preez are joined in the backline by Sam Hill and Sam James, who take their places in the midfield after combining for 60 minutes during the Sharks’ clash with Northampton Saints last Tuesday. Marland Yarde, Denny Solomona and Luke James complete an exciting backline for Sale ahead of Wednesday night’s match.
While they have named their squad, Sale also revealed that they could still forfeit the game.
“Subject to Sale Sharks entire squad undergoing further COVID 19 testing on Tuesday 6th October testing, ff the club feel it is not safe to play or receive one additional positive test, Sale Sharks will forfeit their Gallagher Premiership Round 22 match with Worcester Warriors in order to ensure the health and safety of all concerned,” the club said.
Meanwhile, Worcester Warriors have made one change to their side for the rearranged finale at the AJ Bell Stadium
Sam Lewis will start on the openside flank in place of Matt Kvesic who has been ruled out by a sore Achilles tendon.
Matti Williams takes Kvesic’s place on the bench in the other change to the squad that was selected for the scheduled original fixture on Sunday.
If the match is played loosehead prop Callum Black is set to become the latest Warriors player to join the 100 club.
Black made his 99th appearance when he came off the bench in last Wednesday’s victory over Saracens at Sixways and he has again been named as a replacement for the trip to Manchester.
If Black does reach his century of appearances at Sale he will become only the 27th Warrior to reach the landmark in the professional era but the fifth this season following Ryan Mills, Ryan Bower, GJ van Velze and Matt Cox.
Black, 34, made 51 appearances his first spell with Warriors having progressed through the academy at Sixways and he then played more than 140 times for Ulster before he re-joined Warriors two years ago.
Prediction: Sale to win by seven points.
Sale Sharks: 15 Luke James, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Will Cliff,8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Jean-Luc du Preez, 4 Matt Postlethwaite, 3 Valerey Morozov, 2 Cameron Neild, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Cal Ford, 18 Joe Jones, 19 Ewan Murphy, 20 Sam Dugdale, 21 Joe Bedlow, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Connor Doherty.
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Scott van Breda, 11 Noah Heward, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Marco Mama, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Andrew Kitchener, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Richard Palframan, 2 Beck Cutting, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Callum Black, 18 Joe Morris, 19 Joe Batley 20 Matti Williams, 21 Tom Dodd, 22 Gareth Simpson, 23 Jamie Shillcock.
Date: Wednesday, October 7
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium, Manchester
Kick-off: 19.45 (18.45 GMT)
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Neil Chivers & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Andrew Jackson.