Preview: Sale Sharks v Wasps

Date published: February 17 2017

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Wasps on Sunday in the Premiership at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Steve Diamond’s side have now won four games on the bounce, including last week’s dramatic victory over Newcastle Falcons.

The Sharks have made two changes and a positional switch to the side who beat Falcons. George Nott partners Bryn Evans in the second row, starting his first Premiership game.

TJ Ioane moves from number eight to flanker, with Josh Beaumont returning to the starting XV. Rob Webber will be making his 150th Premiership appearance.

In the backs, Will Addison captains the side from centre, partnering Mark Jennings. Sam James starts at fly-half, with AJ MacGinty taking a place on the bench, following his late withdrawal last weekend.

Speaking ahead of the game, Diamond said: “Wasps are the best side in the competition at the moment. They’ve got some big name players, but we’ve got to play our own game, and not worry too much about their game. It should be a great game of rugby.”

Meanwhile, Wasps’ new Springbok signing, Willie Le Roux, is in line to make his Wasps’ debut if called upon from the bench.

Up front there’s a new look front row, where Jake Cooper-Woolley is joined by Matt Mullan and Tommy Taylor, who return from England camp to build up game-time. James Gaskell and Matt Symons form the second row partnership.

Ashley Johnson again captains the side, which remains largely unchanged from the squad which returned from Exeter with three points last weekend.

Ahead of the match, Dai Young said: “Sale has certainly been a tough trip for us, we haven’t got a very good record up there and have come away from our last two or three seasons thinking that is a game that got away, as they’ve always just done enough to beat us.

“Sale Sharks are on a good run at this moment in time, picking up some decent wins, so we know we’ll need to be mentally and physically on top of our game if we are to come away with the result we want. For us, we just try to turn it into another tough away game, which if we want to maintain our push to be in that top two, these are the games that we have got to win.”

Form: Sale Sharks have won their last four matches in all competitions with their 26-24 victory at home to Newcastle Falcons at the weekend ending a six game losing run in the Premiership. Sale have won their last three matches at AJ Bell Stadium since losing there to Bristol 23-24 in the Premiership on January 1. Wasps are unbeaten in the last six rounds of the Premiership since Gloucester defeated them at Kingsholm on 19 November, dropping just four possible league points in that sequence and drawing 35-35 at Exeter last time out. The last five meetings between the two clubs in the Premiership have gone in favour of the home side whilst Wasps have not achieved a Premiership double over the Sharks since season 2010/11.

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Will Addison (c), 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Sam James, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Josh Beaumont, 7 Magnus Lund, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 George Nott, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Tom Curry, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Johnny Leota

Wasps: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Jimmy Gopperth, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Alex Rieder, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson (c), 5 James Gaskell, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 Jack Willis, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 Willie Le Roux

Date: Sunday, February 19
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carly
Assistant Referees: Ian Tempest, Anthony Woodthorpe
TMO: Sean Davey