Sale Sharks travel to Allianz Park this Saturday to take on Saracens in the seventh round of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby league.
The two sides faced off two weeks ago in the Premiership Rugby Cup, sharing the spoils in a tightly contested 15-15 game at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Both teams are coming into this fixture with successful wins in the Premiership Rugby Cup last week, with Sale grabbing a last gasp penalty to get the victory over Leicester Tigers.
Saracens made hard work of a 34-22 victory against a spirited Worcester Warriors side, which kept their hopes of reaching the semi finals of the competition alive.
With the Autumn Internationals still in full swing, both sides have absentees this weekend, with Saracens missing some of their key players. The likes of Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje are the stand out names, who have both been involved in the England camp over recently. Stand-in players such as Max Malins will need to step into a big role this weekend, as Sale will look to upset a somewhat depleted Saracens side.
Even though Sale are missing in-form winger Chris Ashton due to England duties, they have been blessed by the return of the South African scrum half Francois Faf De Klerk, who is expected to make his first league appearance this weekend. The Springbok has been in great form this November, from having a star performance in South Africa’s win against France last weekend to being nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year for 2018.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) November 14, 2018
De Klerk had an successful campaign last season and will threaten the Saracens defence this weekend once. He will also be getting the chance to link up with newly signed South African compatriot Robert du Preez, who he has spoken very highly about. De Klerk himself recommended the fly half to Sales’ Director of Rugby Steve Diamond, before Sale signed him on a three-month-deal at the start of November.
This return could not have happened at a better time for the Sharks as they have not had the most successful league campaign so far, with winning only two of their opening six games. They are currently in 11th place being only two points ahead of bottom side and their Northern rivals Newcastle Falcons.
Whereas their counterparts, Saracens, are riding high in the league in 2nd place, only being behind top side Exeter Chiefs due to points difference. ‘Sarries’ have been undefeated in the league campaign winning all six of their games and only failing to get the try bonus point in one of them. The North London side will look to continue this dominance even without some of their big guns.
This weekends clash is sure to be a must see, with Sale looking to turn their league campaign around and Saracens looking to keep up their top form at Allianz Park.