Lawes returns as Saints make 10 changes for Sale clash

Courtney Lawes is one of several key players who will return for Saints against Sale Sharks in the Gallagher Premiership game on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

Friday, 20th December 2019, 11:54 am
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 12:08 pm
Courtney Lawes is ready to make his comeback
Courtney Lawes is ready to make his comeback

Lawes has missed the past four matches due to a hamstring problem, but he is now fit to return to the second row at the AJ Bell Stadium.

He teams up with Alex Moon, who has recovered from a head injury, as Alex Coles drops out of the matchday squad and Api Ratuniyarawa is given a breather on the bench.

Mike Haywood, Teimana Harrison, Rory Hutchinson and Tom Collins, who were all rested for last Saturday's 50-21 Champions Cup defeat to Leinster in Dublin, return to the starting 15.

George Furbank is also back at full-back, having recovered from the head injury he picked up against Leicester Tigers in the final game of last month.

Cobus Reinach has recovered from the knee injury he suffered in the recent home game against Leinster and the South African starts at scrum-half.

Alex Waller replaces Francois van Wyk at loosehead and Ehren Painter comes in for Paul Hill at tighthead, with Saints making a total of 10 changes.

Only Tom Wood, Lewis Ludlam, Dan Biggar, Taqele Naiyaravoro and Matt Proctor are retained from last Saturday's starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Sale have recalled seven internationals after losing heavily at Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup last weekend.

After not featuring at Sandy Park, Chris Ashton, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Rob Du Preez and Faf de Klerk all return.

In another complete rotation of the front row, Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe and Will-Griff John are all back, along with Bryn Evans, who is in the second row.

Captain Jono Ross returns to his regular position of blindside flanker to allow for Daniel du Preez to make his comeback from injury at No.8 .

Tom Curry completes the back row at openside.

Sale Sharks: Hammersley; Ashton, S James, van Rensburg, McGuigan; R du Preez, de Klerk; Oosthuizen, van der Merwe, John; Evans, Phillips; Ross (c), T Curry, D du Preez.

Replacements: Langdon, Harrison, Cooper-Woolley, Postlethwaite, B. Curry, Cliff, MacGinty, Solomona

Saints: Furbank; Collins, Proctor, Hutchinson, Naiyaravoro; Biggar, Reinach; Waller (cc), Haywood, Painter; Moon, Lawes; Wood, Ludlam, Harrison (cc).

Replacements: Matavesi, van Wyk, Hill, Ratuniyarawa, Eadie, Tupai, Francis, Tuala.