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Sale Sharks
Gallagher Premiership
Nov 17, 2023 at 7.45pm UK
Newcastle Falcons
Sale Sharks
NewcastleNewcastle Falcons
Reed (10', 36'), Curry (28'), du Preez (31'), James (76'), Roebuck (79')
Brown (2'), Chick (21'), Byrne (50'), Stephens (53')

Preview: Sale Sharks vs. Newcastle Falcons - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Gallagher Premiership clash between Sale Sharks and Newcastle Falcons, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

In an action-packed weekend in the Gallagher Premiership, Newcastle Falcons will make the short trip to Salford Community Stadium to take on Sale Sharks in the northern derby on Friday.

Last season's runners-up Sale find themselves in second place in the standings, while the Falcons are rooted to the foot of the table with just two points to their name after five matches.

Match preview

Sale Sharks' Akker van der Merwe scores a try on May 27, 2023© Reuters

Sale Sharks currently have an impressive 18 points in the Premiership standings and are in the midst of a hot streak, having secured four wins in their last five matches in this competition.

The hosts' only defeat in this season's league came against Exeter Chiefs in week three, but they bounced back excellently to claim back-to-back wins over Gloucester Rugby a week later before downing Bristol Bears last weekend.

Against the Bears, Arron Reed, Sam James, Rob du Preez and Joseph Carpenter all crossed the scoreline, while England fly-half George Ford added seven off the boot to see their side to a 27-13 victory at Ashton Gate.

The Sharks are now set to return to their home ground, where they will face a lacklustre Falcons side that they have defeated in each of their last four encounters at this venue.

Newcastle Falcons' George McGuigan in action with Harlequins' George Head on September 10, 2022© Reuters

Meanwhile, after finishing at the bottom of the table last season, the early signs suggest that Newcastle are going to struggle again this term, as they are the only side yet to win a match after five rounds.

The Falcons had not beaten Saracens since 2009, and that record never looked likely to be troubled when the two faced off last weekend when Sarries ran out 50-12 victors at Kingston Park.

Newcastle were 28-7 down at the break, and while an early second-half try by Bryan Byrne gave the Falcons a glimmer of hope, their opponents were too good, running in another three before the final whistle.

However, despite being four years since their last win at this venue, recent history favours the Falcons, having secured victories in two of their last three head-to-head encounters against this opponent.

Sale Sharks Gallagher Premiership form:

  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Sale Sharks form (all competitions):

  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Newcastle Falcons Gallagher Premiership form:

  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Newcastle Falcons form (all competitions):

  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

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Team News

Ford will be rested for the match, with du Preez stepping into fly-half, while Joseph Carpenter is also brought into the starting 15.

Luke Cowan-Dickie is set to make his home debut for the club as he is included on the replacements bench alongside academy prop Asher Opoku-Fordjour, who earns a spot in a Premiership matchday squad for the first time.

At scrum-half, Elliott will make his debut for the Falcons, while Cameron Hutchison pairs up with Zach Kerr in the centre.

Jamie Blamire is sidelined due to a hamstring injury, and Adam Radwan is also absent with a hip issue, while Mateo Carreras and Matias Moroni continue to miss out, the former due to a hamstring problem and the latter due to a shin injury.

Sale Sharks starting lineup: 15. Joe Carpenter, 14. Tom Roebuck, 13. Sam James, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Arron Reed, 10. Rob du Preez, 9. Gus Warr, 8. Dan du Preez, 7. Ben Curry (c), 6. Ernst van Rhyn, 5. Jonny Hill, 4. Cobus Wiese, 3. James Harper, 2. Agustin Creevy, 1. Bevan Rodd

Replacements: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Asher Opoku-Fordjour 19. Ben Bamber, 20. Sam Dugdale, 21. Nye Thomas, 22. Tom Curtis, 23. Alex Wills

Newcastle Falcons starting lineup: 15. Ben Redshaw, 14. Louis Brown, 13. Zach Kerr, 12. Cameron Hutchison, 11. Iwan Stephens, 10. Josh Thomas, 9. James Elliott, 8. Callum Chick (c), 7. Guy Pepper, 6. John Hawkins, 5. Kiran McDonald, 4. Tim Cardall, 3. Murray McCallum, 2. Bryan Byrne, 1. Phil Brantingham

Replacements: 16. Charlie Maddison, 17. Adam Brocklebank, 18. Mark Tampin, 19. John Kelly, 20. Josh Bainbridge, 21. Josh Barton, 22. Louie Johnson, 23. Oliver Spencer

SM words green background

We say: Sale Sharks 40-17 Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle have been very poor so far this season, and their recent record at this ground does not inspire much confidence in their chances in this match. Sale come into this match with solid momentum following two convincing wins, and we fancy them to go three-in-three with another victory in this one.

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Newcastle Falcons' George McGuigan in action with Harlequins' George Head on September 10, 2022
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