England’s Gallagher Premiership resumes tonight as the second round after the restart kicks off.
Sale Sharks, third in the table, host Rob Baxter’s table-topping Exeter Chiefs at the AJ Bell Stadium for the fourth installment this season between the two sides, who faced each other in the Heineken Champions Cup double-header in December.
Sale Sharks restart defeat to Harlequins ended a run of three successive Gallagher Premiership Rugby victories. The Sharks only defeat at AJ Bell Stadium in the last twelve months of Premiership Rugby was 16-18 to Gloucester on the opening round this season.
Exeter Chiefs only defeat in the last five rounds of Gallagher Premiership Rugby was 30-34 to Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop on 29 February. That defeat was the Chiefs first on the road in any tournament since October 2019.
Sale beat Exeter 22-19 at Sandy Park in round 9 but have never before achieved a Premiership Rugby double over the Devonians in the same season. The Chiefs have won on their last four visits to AJ Bell Stadium in all tournaments.
What time is Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs kick-off?
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs kicks off at 6pm on Friday, August 21.
What TV channel is it on?
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs will be broadcast live on BT Sport 2, with coverage beginning at 5.30pm.
What about live streaming?
BT Sport customers can tune in via the app or the website to watch the coverage.
What’s the team news?
There is just one change to Sale’s side which lost 16-10 to Quins last Friday, with Sam James returning to the Sharks squad at outside centre while Manu Tuilagi is deployed at inside centre for the top-four clash.
Wales squad prop WillGriff John packs down at tighthead for Sale, lining up alongside Coenie Oosthuizen and Akker van der Merwe.
John was due to make his Test debut against Scotland in March before the match was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The mercurial Faf de Klerk retains his number nine shirt.
As for table-topping Exeter, Wales and Lions winger Alex Cuthbert starts at No. 14 and replaces Tom O’Flaherty, marking the 61-times capped Cuthbert’s first outing for the Devon club since November due to injury.
Wales tighthead Tomas Francis – who made his rugby return last weekend following a shoulder injury suffered at the World Cup – is among the replacements for Exeter.
An ankle injury to centre Ollie Devoto means the England international misses out this time round, so Ian Whitten is promoted from the bench to fill the void in midfield.
Up front, changes see Ben Moon start at loosehead in place of Alec Hepburn, while Jacques Vermeulen replaces compatriot Jannes Kirsten in the back-row.
Exeter Chiefs: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Alex Cuthbert, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Ian Whitten, 11. Olly Woodburn, 10. Joe Simmonds (capt), 9. Jack Maunder, 1. Ben Moon, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Harry Williams, 4. Jonny Gray, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Dave Ewers, 7. Jacques Vermeulen, 8. Sam Simmonds.