Arron Reed, Tom O’Flaherty and Luke James continue in a pacy back three. Scotland hooker Ewan Ashman, England prop Rodd and James Harper make up the front-row replacements, with Josh Beaumont and Jono Ross covering the rest of the forwards. Thomas, Tom Curtis and fit-again Carpenter complete a strong replacements bench. Speaking ahead of the match, Alex said this weekend’s challenge will be a far cry from the ‘golden night’ at the AJ Bell Stadium against Leicester. He said: “It seemed like all the planets aligned against Leicester to allow us to finish off the year in the way that we wanted.
He has also made the most kicks which have been retained (13). – **Luke James** made more metres with ball in hand than any other player in Round 14. He also made four offloads, matched only by teammate Tom Curry, and beat a round-high seven defenders. – **Sale Sharks** have scored the most maul tries in the Premiership (seven). They have also been awarded two penalty tries as a result of their maul. – **Dan du Preez** has made more dominant tackle contacts than any other player (18). He is the only player in the league to also appear in the top five for dominant carry contacts (30).
Luke James, 14. Arron Reed, 13. Sam James, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Rob Du Preez, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Simon McIntyre, 2. Akker Van Der Merwe, 3. Nick Schonert, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Tom Curry, 7. Ben Curry (C), 8. Jean-Luc du Preez **Replacements**: 16. Ewan Ashman, 17. Bevan Rodd, 18. James Harper, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Jono Ross, 21. Nye Thomas, 22. Tom Curtis, 23.
Sam Dugdale and Friday night’s Premiership Rugby Cup player of the match Birch cover the rest of the forwards. Joe Simpson, Wilkinson and Arron Reed are the backs replacements. Sale Sharks Starting XV: 15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 12. Sam Hill, 11. Byron McGuigan, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Gus Warr; 1. Ross Harrison, 2.
Live Streams - Premier 15s
TEAM NEWS | Sale Sharks v Bristol BearsSam James makes his 200th Sharks appearance, Cobus Wiese and Akker van der Merwe return from injury and Rouban Birch and Kieran Wilkinson are rewarded for their cup heroics with places on the replacements bench for the Saturday lunchtime Premiership clash with Bristol Bears (KO 1pm – live on BT Sport). Jean-Luc and Dan du Preez also return to the Sharks line-up after featuring for South Africa A, while Jono Ross captains the side for the round 11 showdown with Pat Lam’s men.
Sale Sharks only loss in their last four Gallagher Premiership Rugby matches was 14-20 at Newcastle on 23 December. The Sharks have not been victorious away from home in any competition since beating Leicester Tigers 26-16 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on 8 October. Harlequins beat Sale 29-13 at Salford City Stadium in October and have not achieved a Premiership Rugby season’s double over the Northerners since 2013/14. The Sharks won on both of their visits to the Stoop last season, 36-14 in Premiership Rugby and 34-29 in the Premiership Rugby Cup.
Joe Carpenter. **OVAL INSIGHTS** **Harlequins** – Despite a heavy defeat by the hand of the Northampton Saints, **Nick David** made more carries (12), metres (121), and clean breaks (two) than any other Harlequins player in Round 14 as well as scoring a try. – **Cadan Murley** has made a league-high 19 clean breaks, five of which came against the Leicester Tigers in Round 6 – the highest individual total in a single match so far this season. – Despite not appearing in Round 14, **Will Evans** has still won more turnovers than any other player (20). He has also been a nuisance in a league-high 41 rucks. – Wanting to get attacking players on the ground quickly and compete for the ball, **Harlequins** make a greater percentage of their tackles below the waist than any other side (57%). **Sale Sharks** – After taking the reins in the Sharks’ impressive victory over the Leicester Tigers, **Rob du Preez** is the Gallagher Premiership’s top points-scorer (124).
Springbok hooker Van der Merwe returns to the number two shirt after six weeks out with an ankle injury picked up against London Irish in October, and he takes his place in the front row between the experienced pair of Ross Harrison and Nick Schonert. Wiese also returns from ankle lay-off to partner Josh Beaumont in the second row, while the Du Preez twins line-up alongside skipper Ross in the back row. Gus Warr lines up again at scrum-half alongside fly-half Rob du Preez, and in the centres, Sam Hill starts with the ever-present Sam James, who plays his 200th game for his boyhood club. Tom Roebuck and Byron McGuigan start on the wings, with full-back Joe Carpenter making up a pacy back three. Academy products Tommy Taylor and fit-again Simon McIntyre provide front-row cover on the bench, along with Joe Jones, who will be playing his 50th Sharks game if he takes the field.
Sale Sharks v Bristol Bears, Premiership Rugby 2022/23
“The difficulty now comes in separating that result and that performance from what we face against Quins. It’s not going to be a continuation of how it finished against Leicester. “Now we’re facing a Quins team coming off the back of a big loss, with a good coaching team and they’ll be hurting. The challenge is completely different. “When we played them at home, we were on a five game winning streak and they’d just lost and they came to our ground and physically dominated us. “How are they going to respond from last week, but how are we going to respond to that defeat. There’s a bit of extra motivation there for us. ” **Sale Sharks Starting XV**: 15.