Team Announcements: Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints

Team Announcements: Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints

Sale Sharks

Manu Tuilagi is fit after knee surgery, Tom O’Flaherty makes his first league start and Josh Beaumont returns to the matchday squad for the first time in over a year as Alex Sanderson names his team for the opening Premiership clash of the 2022/23 season against Northampton Saints (KO 7.45pm, Friday, September 9 – live on PRTV).

Tuilagi lines up alongside Sam James in the centre as the Sharks Director of Rugby opts for a mix of power and guile against Phil Dowson’s Saints.

Despite the absence of England man Bevan Rodd, Alex is able to call on a front row full of experience for the season opener with Si McIntyre and Nick Schonert lining up either side of hooker Akker van der Merwe.

With Jonny Hill still unavailable following his exploits with England in the summer, Matt Postlethwaite gets his chance to stake a claim for a regular spot in the second row alongside Cobus Wiese.

Salakaia-Loto and Scott-Young make Gallagher Premiership debuts at Sale

Director of Rugby Phil Dowson has named his side for Northampton Saints’ Gallagher Premiership opener this weekend, with summer signings Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Angus Scott-Young set to make their full debuts at Sale Sharks.

Saints have won only twice in ten previous visits to Sale in the league (2012 and 2017), but have claimed maximum points twice in last three seasons on opening weekend, and ended last season’s Premiership with six victories in seven matches – so will be hoping to carry that momentum into the new campaign.

Fraser Dingwall will lead out the visitors as captain and lines up in the midfield alongside Matt Proctor, with Courtnall Skosan (who scored 11 Premiership tries last term), Ollie Sleightholme, and Tom Collins named in the back three.

James Grayson will look to control the game from fly-half, while Alex Mitchell starts in the No.9 jersey having starred the last time Northampton met Sale – scoring a try and making 73 metres with two clean breaks and four defenders beaten.

Up front, Salakaia-Loto makes his first competitive start for Saints in the engine room, with Alex Coles also packing down in the tight five behind an experienced front row of Alex Waller, Mike Haywood and Paul Hill.

Scott-Young is named at blindside flanker in Northampton’s back row for his first taste of Premiership action, as Aaron Hinkley lines up on the other side of the scrum and Juarno Augustus (statistically the most destructive carrier of any forward in the Premiership, TOP 14, URC and Super Rugby last season with a gainline success rate of 75%) rounds off the line-up in the No.8 jersey.

Amongst the replacements there is room for England fullback George Furbank, while there are more competitive Saints debuts in store for tighthead prop Alfie Petch and flanker Sam Graham if they enter the action from the bench.

15 Tom Collins

14 Ollie Sleightholme

13 Matt Proctor

12 Fraser Dingwall (c)

11 Courtnall Skosan

10 James Grayson

9 Alex Mitchell

1 Alex Waller

2 Mike Haywood

3 Paul Hill

4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto

5 Alex Coles

6 Angus Scott-Young

7 Aaron Hinkley

8 Juarno Augustus


16 Sam Matavesi

17 Emmanuel Iyogun

18 Alfie Petch

19 Alex Moon

20 Sam Graham

21 Tom James

22 Tom Litchfield

23 George Furbank

Not considered for selection:

Dan Biggar, Callum Burns, Tommy Freeman, Joseph Gaffan, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, Rory Hutchinson, Courtney Lawes, Tom Lockett, Lewis Ludlam, Ehren Painter, James Ramm, David Ribbans, Frankie Sleightholme, and Karl Wilkins.

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