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Premiership Rugby

Van Straaten starts for Sale Sharks

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

South African Braam van Straaten will finally make his first Zurich Premiership appearance for Sale Sharks against Bath at Edgeley Park on Friday evening.

Which is the only good news in a week in which the Sharks have been hit by a triple injury whammy.

Centre Jos Baxendell, who had been filling the fly-half berth in the absence of the injured Charlie Hodgson and Van Straaten, as well as taking over their kicking duties, will be sidelined for up to six weeks with a broken kneecap, sustained in Sunday's game at Newcastle Falcons.

Fellow centre Dan Harris will undergo an operation on a damaged shoulder early next week and will be out of action for about five months. Skipper and back row Pete Anglesea faces a similarly lengthy lay-off as he needs surgery on a knee injury.

Coach Jim Mallinder said: "One of our other centres, Chris Rhys Jones, has just had an operation on a broken thum! b so these injuries are a terrible blow to the individuals concerned and to us as a club.

"We are still waiting for Charlie Hodgson to recover his fitness so it is fortunate that Braam has been declared fit to play at fly-half."

The front row shows two changes for the visit of high-flying Bath with Matt Cairns taking over from Andy Titterrell at hooker and Stuart Turner starting at tight-head in place of Barry Stewart.

Said Mallinder: "Matt and Stuart have played important roles when they have come on in the second half in the two previous games and we thought they should get a start.

"As Bryan Redpath has now proved his fitness to Scotland coach Ian McGeechan he is no longer available to us so Richard Wigglsesworth will start at scrum-half. Nick Walshe will be on the bench after coming through a second string game at Worcester on Tuesday after also missing the start of the season due t! o injury."

TEAM: Vaughan Going; Mark Cueto, James Hoyle, Graeme Bond, Steve Hanley; Braam van Straaten, Richard Wigglesworth; Andrew Sheridan, Matt Cairns, Stuart Turner, Chris Jones, Dean Schofield, Alex Sanderson capt, Phil  Davies, Stuart Pinkerton. REPLACEMENTS: Andy Titterrell, Barry Stewart, Iain Fullarton, Christian Day, Magnus Lund, Chris Mayor, Nick Walshe.



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