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By Darraghgirl
November 15 2018

So after 3 weeks of the Premiership Cup, proper rugby returns to Allianz Park on Saturday when we welcome Sale Sharks. Of course the 2 teams met a couple of weeks ago up north in the other competition, battling out a 15-15 draw.

Quite how different the team we put out will be remains to be seen, given that Eddie has seen fit to select Loz (who has finally completed his ludicrous suspension), Jamie George & Maro in the starting 15 and Faz and Wiggy on the bench. (So Wiggy won’t be up against his old mukkers). Eddie has at least let us have Mike Rhodes back so we should be grateful for small mercies I suppose. Looking a bit wider, Sean Maitland starts for Scotland against South Africa for whom Vincent Koch is on the bench, Titi starts at loosehead for USA Eagles against Romania & Liam Williams starts for Wales against Tonga. Although I can’t find the team announcement, I assume Sione Vailanu will be playing opposite him. Apparently Matt Gallagher & Ali Crossdale have joined Rotimi Segun and David Strettle on the injury list so thank goodness for our white knight galloping to the rescue, the one and only Chris Wyles who has apparently been training with the team this week and is ready to step into the breach.

Which is all just as well has helpfully Rassie Erasmus has kindly released Faf de Klerk back to Sale this weekend (thanks mate) but at least Eddie has decided to keep Ashy on the wing against Japan so there won’t be any return of the Prodigal Son this weekend. Thankfully Jean-Luc du Preez, who has just joined Sale Sharks from those other Sharks down under as cover for the injured Tom Curry, won’t be available until next week!

Sale aren’t having the best of seasons, having secured just 9 points with only Newcastle below them in the table while (in case you had forgotten) Saracens lie in second place, unbeaten so far this season in all competitions, and equal on points (29) with Exeter. (And just to remind us how the season has gone so far, Wasps in 3rd are 10 points behind again). Historically  Sale are a team who have often proved problematic to beat for Saracens but they have not managed an away win against Sarries since 2005. Sale have lost their last 5 games away from home. Last season Sarries did the double over Sharks with a comfortable 41-13 home win before going to Salford for a 13-3 victory in February.

Apart from Ashy, Sale are missing the injured Tom Curry & Marlon Yarde. Sale put out a strong team against Tigers in the PRC last weekend and were rewarded with a 2 point away victory. Presumably the team on Saturday will be similar, along the lines of Sam James, Solomona, O’Connor, Van Rensburg, McGuigan, MacGinty, De Klerk,  Harrison, Webber, Willgriff, Postlethwaite, Philips, Ross, Ben Curry & Beaumont.

So which 15 will take the pitch for the Men in Black? Well I am going to start with the half-backs because the rest of the backs then spring from there. I don’t think Smally can risk starting Malins at 10 after his performances over the past 3 weeks so step forward Alex Goode alongside Spenno (who presumably will take over the kicking duties.) Given the lack of alternatives, Malins might get at start at 15 though with Bosch possibly being the other option. Lewington starts on 1 wing – I guess we must risk Wyles on the other though and hope he can last 60 minutes. Captain Fantastic returns at 12, his cheek hopefully now healed, presumably alongside Tompkins. In the forwards, I assume Barrington will team up with either Christian Judge or new signing Hisa Sisagi and Chris Tolofua at hooker (thank goodness France don’t want him). I would expect Will Skelton at lock alongside Dom Day (or possibly even Joel Kpoku) and a back row of Rhodes, Wray and, if the old boy can manage another week, Schalk Burger (if not Ben Earl).

The referee is Andrew Jackson. I think it will be an interesting contest and Sale supporters at least seem to think this is a good time to be playing Sarries. We will be doing well if the unbeaten record is still in tact by the time the troops return home!

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15/11/2018 18:52
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:11:26:08:47:27 by Darraghgirl.

The Bard (IP Logged)
15/11/2018 20:34
Excellent preview, thanks. Perhaps Glenda could be persuaded to make a decent stay of it and turn out on Saturday before his talk on Thursday night!

Davenport Sharky (IP Logged)
16/11/2018 00:32
McGuigan with Scotland as is Strauss. AJ Maginty is long term injured so we have Springbok Rob Du Preez at 10. Unlikely to start with Postlethwaite so expect Bryn Evans or Andrei Ostrikov in 2nd row. Wing probably Arron Reed.
We might surprise you. 😊

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