Argentina veteran to make Sale Sharks debut against Gloucester who welcome back star centre

David Skippers
Agustin Creevy Argentina training RWC 2023 - Alamy.jpg

Argentina's veteran hooker Agustin Creevy.

Argentina hooker Agustin Creevy makes his Sale debut, and England World Cup stars George Ford and Bevan Rodd also return to start as the Sharks look to get back to winning ways against Gloucester under the Friday night lights at AJ Bell Stadium.

Club captain Ben Curry also features in a matchday squad for the first time since he injured his hamstring in last season’s play-off semi-final against Leicester Tigers, while Sam James switches to full-back in the absence of Joe Carpenter (hamstring) and Tom O’Flaherty.

Former London Irish man Creevy starts alongside loosehead Rodd and tighthead Nick Schonert in an abrasive front-row.

Cobus Wiese and Jonny Hill team up once again in Sale‘s second-row while there’s a return for Sam Dugdale in the back-row. Dugdale starts in the number seven shirt alongside Ernst van Rhyn and Dan du Preez (number eight).

Gus Warr continues at scrum-half, and he’ll have Ford alongside him for the first time this season after the fly-half played a starring role in England’s World Cup campaign.

Ford’s return means skipper Rob du Preez will switch to outside centre, where he’ll team up with the ever-present Sam Bedlow.

In the back three, Arron Reed and Tom Roebuck start on the wings, while Sam James slots in at full-back.

Alex Sanderson has again gone for a 6-2 split on the bench, with Nathan Langdon, Si McIntyre and James Harper picked as the front-row replacements, and Josh Beaumont, Curry and Tom Ellis covering the rest of the forwards.

Nye Thomas and fellow England U20s back Alex Wills are the other replacements.

Meanwhile, Gloucester director of rugby George Skivington has made seven changes to his starting line-up, some forced through injury, and some tactical.

In the front-row, last season’s Player of the Year, Val Rapava-Ruskin, starts alongside Jack Singleton and Kirill Gotovtsev. Freddie Thomas retains his place in the second-row, with Arthur Clark coming back into the pack alongside him.

Fiji’s Albert Tuisue keeps his starting spot in the back row. Ben Donnell and Jack Clement come into the XV to complete the forwards.

In the backline, Charlie Chapman replaces Stephen Varney at scrum-half, with George Barton lining up outside him.

A familiar face returns to Premiership action for the first time in over a year in the centre. Mark Atkinson suffered a significant knee injury against Bath in October 2022, his last outing in the Premiership.

Atkinson is partnered with Chris Harris, who skippers the side in Lewis Ludlow’s absence.

In the backfield, Jake Morris starts at full-back, with Alex Hearle and Jack Reeves on the wings.

Argentine hooker, Santi Socino, flanker Harry Taylor and new signing, Mick Young, come onto the bench. They join Harry Elrington, Ciaran Knight, Cam Jordan, Max Llewellyn and Josh Hathaway, who impressed on his Premiership debut last week.

The teams

Sale Sharks: 15 Sam James, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Rob du Preez (c), 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Arron Reed, 10 George Ford, 9 Gus Warr, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Sam Dugdale, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements:
16 Nathan Langdon, 17 Si McIntyre, 18 James Harper, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Nye Thomas, 22 Alex Wills, 23 Tom Ellis

Gloucester: 15 Jake Morris, 14 Jack Reeves, 13 Chris Harris (c), 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Alex Hearle, 10 George Barton, 9 Charlie Chapman, 8 Jack Clement, 7 Ben Donnell, 6 Albert Tuisue, 5 Arthur Clark, 4 Freddie Thomas, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements:
16 Santi Socino, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Harry Taylor, 21 Micky Young, 22 Max Llewellyn, 23 Josh Hathaway

Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe
Assistant Referees: George Selwood, Neil Chivers
TMO: Dean Richards

READ MORE: All Blacks lodge complaint over officiating in Rugby World Cup final defeat