South African fly-half Rob du Preez is set to make his 100th appearance for Sale Sharks as they return to domestic action in the Gallagher Premiership on Friday night at home to EPCR Challenge Cup rivals Bath Rugby.
Sale, who have dropped down into EPCR’s second-tier competition and now face a trip to Cardiff Rugby on April 1 in the Round of 16, show seven changes to the team beaten 22-11 by Ulster Rugby in the Heineken Champions Cup last weekend.
In the forwards, there is a completely new front-row as Simon McIntyre, Tommy Taylor and Nick Schonert all return, Cobus Wiese is back in the second row after a one-match suspension and Sam Dugdale replaces flanker Ben Curry, who is on England duty.
Centre Manu Tuilagi is also with England, so Ryan Mills steps in, while the second change in the backs sees Tom Roebuck replace Arron Reed on the wing.
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— EPCR Challenge Cup (@ChallengeCup_) January 26, 2023
For Bath, Josh McNally and Dave Attwood return to the second row, the former after almost four months out with a shoulder injury, in two of five changes to the pack from the 19-19 EPCR Challenge Cup draw at Glasgow Warriors last weekend.
The other three are all in the front row, with Valeriy Morozov filling the No.1 jersey against his former club, Niall Annett starting at hooker with Tom Dunn on international duty and D’Arcy Rae back at tighthead prop.
There is a shake-up in the backs too, with captain Ben Spencer partnering Orlando Bailey at half-back, Max Ojomoh switching from wing to centre, where he joins Jonathan Joseph, and Matt Gallagher and Will Butt named in the back three.
Meanwhile in the United Rugby Championship, Aaron Shingler leads a Scarlets side showing six changes from last weekend’s 20-7 EPCR Challenge Cup win in Bayonne as the Welsh side host Vodacom Bulls.
Centre Jonathan Davies is ruled out by a calf injury, while there are five Scarlets on Wales duty, so Ryan Conbeer returns on the left wing and Ioan Nicholas is recalled at inside centre in the backs.
In the pack, there is an all-new front row of Kemsley Mathias, Daf Hughes and Sam Wainwright – who will make his first Scarlets start – while in the back row Sione Kalamafoni is picked at No.8 in place of Carwyn Tuipulotu.