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Premiership Rugby

Sharks not risking Van Straaten

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The Sharks, who will be left without the services of fullback Jason Robinson as he prepares with England for the World Cup – have also lost captain Pete Anglesea, scrum-half Nick Walshe and fly-half Charlie Hodgson to injury.

Van Straaten, who moved from Leeds Tykes during the summer to act as a goal-kicking back-up for Hodgson, took a knock during practice and coach Jim Mallinder decided not to risk him, opting, instead, to start with Jos Baxendell at No.10.

Scotland skipper Bryan Redpath, who has seen no game time since injuring his elbow against South Africa in June, will start off the bench for the Sharks, while Richard Wigglesworth will make his Premiership debut at scrum-half.

Loosehead prop Andrew Sheridan, who moved from Bristol Shoguns during the off-season, will make his debut for the Sharks.

Saints coach Wayne Smith, meanwhile, has opted to go with a squad approach for the game, urging fans to look past the starting XV.

"We now have a squad of players who have proved they are up to premiership standards, and who have worked hard to earn our trust," he said.

"The English rugby season is one of the longest sporting campaigns in the world, lasting from the beginning of September until the end of May, and that is one of the reasons we have to be flexible in our thinking.

"As an organisation we are now looking beyond having a set first XV, and have said to players that there will some weeks when they may not start a game but may well finish it."

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Vaughan Going, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Dan Harris, 12 Graeme Bond, 11 Steve Hanley, 10 Jos Baxendell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Phil Davies, 7 Stuart Pinkerton, 6 Alex Sanderson (captain), 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Barry Stewart, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Andrew Sheridan.Replacements: 16 James Hoyle 17 Bryan Redpath 18 Kevin Yates 19 Matt Cairns 20 Stuart Turner 21 Iain Fullarton 22 Chris Day.

Northampton Saints: 15 Nick Beal, 14 John Sleightholme, 13 Chris Hyndman, 12 Mark Tucker, 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Shane Drahm, 9 John Howard, 8 Andrew Blowers, 7 Darren Fox, 6 Mark Connors, 5 Steve Williams, 4 Matt Lord, 3 Chris Budgen, 2 Dan Richmond, 1 Renaud Peillard.Replacements: 16 Matt Miles, 17 Brett Sturgess, 18 Rob Hunter, 19 Grant Seely, 20 Mark Robinson, 21 John Leslie, 22 Oriol Ripol.

Kick-off: 19.45 BST (18.45 GMT)


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