Sale Sharks face off against Harlequins tonight in the Premiership Rugby Cup final, in the hope they can lift their first trophy since their 2006 Gallagher Premiership title-winning season.
The Sharks will have home advantage in this evening’s final – their first since 2013 – and Sale’s Director of Rugby Steve Diamond has set his sights on showing everyone just how far Sale have come in the past few years.
Diamond said: “This year, especially for us the Premiership Rugby Cup has real meaning.
“We set out our stall early, using the competition as our pre-season warm up matches and that worked really well for us. We managed to pick up five wins out of five in the early stages and guarantee ourselves a final at the AJ Bell, qualifying as top seeds.
“Winning the Premiership Rugby Cup would be a huge reward for the players, the owners and everyone involved at the club along with their families.
“We targeted this competition as a stepping stone to success when Ged and Simon first took over the club, and Monday night is a massive opportunity for us to show the progression we have made since their takeover.”
Diamond has made only four changes to his matchday squad after the defeat to Bath Rugby in the last Premiership round – Robert Du Preez, Simon Hammersley and Curtis Langdon have all been named in the starting line-up, whilst James Phillips occupies the bench.
South African international Coenie Oosthuizen returns at loosehead prop, whilst fellow Springbok Cobus Weise is set to make his debut tonight for the Sharks after his arrival at the AJ Bell Stadium in June.
Tom Curry will be replaced by Daniel Du Preez at number eight, and Will Cliff will link up with Robert Du Preez at half-back instead of Faf De Klerk who starts on the bench.
Hammersley will feature at full-back for Sale over Luke James, who played in the defeat to Bath at home in round 20 of the Premiership.
The Premiership Rugby final between Sale Sharks and Harlequins kicks off tonight at 7:45pm at the AJ Bell Stadium, with Sale’s full matchday squad below.
15. Simon Hammersley, 14. Denny Solomona, 13. Sam James, 12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11. Marland Yarde, 10 Robert du Preez, 9. Will Cliff; 1. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Curtis Langdon, 3. Jake Cooper-Woolley, 4. Cobus Wiese, 5. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Jono Ross (capt.), 7. Ben Curry, 8. Daniel du Preez.
16. Akker van der Merwe, 17. Valerey Morozov, 18. Will-Griff John, 19. James Phillips, 20. Tom Curry, 21. Faf de Klerk, 22. AJ MacGinty, 23. Manu Tuilagi.