Harlequins v Sale preview: Sharks hunt third successive win against Quins
Harlequins face Sale in the Aviva Premiership at Twickenham Stoop on Friday night: 7:45 pm kick-off
Sharks looking to win third consecutive match after back-to-back home successes.
Dave Ward and Will Collier come into the front row for Quins
Peter Stringer makes his first start for Sale since joining from Bath
Sale Sharks head to the Twickenham Stoop looking for their third successive win of a promising campaign so far, while the hosts will be looking to build on their impressive 38-28 win at Bath last time out.
Both sides hold similar ambitions this year with Harlequins looking to return to the top of the game, while ever-improving Sale will be looking to break back into the top four.
The pair have also enjoyed similar starts to the year with two wins from their opening first three fixtures, Sale recovering from a 41-3 thrashing at Saracens in round one to win against Worcester and, notably, Northampton, 20-13, at the AJ Bell Stadium last weekend.
As a result, Friday night’s BT Sport game brings together two teams who are locked on points in the Premiership ladder, and history suggests a tight game in prospect between a potentially dangerous pair of the top flight’s chasing pack.
Quins have claimed two wins from the last three clashes between the two sides, following up a 27-12 win at the AJ Bell in April 2014 with another away win, 25-23 coming at the end of last season. Those clashes came either side of a surprise 16-12 away win for Sharks in November last year.
With Quins looking avenge for last year’s home loss to Sharks, boss Conor O’Shea brings in Dave Ward and Will Collier to the front row, alongside a return for lock Charlie Matthews.
One back-division change comes from last week’s win at Bath with Matt Hopper replacing Harry Sloan at centre.
In the visiting camp, with Chris Cusiter out with a head injury, former Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer makes his first start for Sale since joining from Bath as winger Nev Edwards makes his first appearance of the year, as Sam Tuitupou starts ahead of Jonny Leota at inside centre.
Players to Watch
Harlequins: Charlie Matthews
The towering lock stands at 6ft 8in and weighs over 18 stone and has had a steady one-club career so far, racking up close to 100 appearances for Quins since making his debut in 2009. Aged 24, the former Loughborough University man has been on the brink of full international honours and will be looking to make his mark this season, starting with his first start of the year tomorrow night.
Sale Sharks: Peter Stringer
The 37-year-old joined Sharks from Bath in the summer on a one-year deal. The most capped Irish scrum-half of all time, he made 98 appearances for his country while playing 230 times for Munster alongside spells in the Premiership with Saracens, Newcastle and Bath. A Heineken Cup winner in 2006, Stringer’s vast experience could proved to be a useful asset to Sale this year.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 George Lowe, 12 Matt Hopper, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Nick Easter, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Sam Twomey, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Jack Clifford, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.
Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Josh Beaumont, 7 TJ Ioane, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Johnny Leota.
Date: Friday, November 6
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Matthew Carly, Ashley Rowden
TMO: Sean Davey