Last week's victory over Leicester was encouraging for our youngsters, but Adam Powell and Kelly Brown will have focused on a number of points for improvement, and it will be good to see how the side respond.
This week's opponents were beaten comfortably by Worcester in the last round, although Sharks fans will rightly point out they put out a team more in keeping with the general standard of the cup than their opponents who boasted the likes of Francois Hougaard, Duncan Weir and Bryce Heem in their starting 15.
Sale's team this week is well aligned with our selection policy - a mix of academy talent, injury returns and senior players in need of game time. Utility back Luke James was one to watch at centre against Worcester, and will line up at full back on Friday. Prop Tom Bristow was also a high profile in the ruck, with Sam Dugdale and George Nott also impressing among the forwards. Scrum half Gus Warr and wing Tom Roebuck also showed well in defeat, but drop to the bench to make way for a couple of the bigger names needing some game time; Will Cliff, and danger man Jonny Leota. Josh Strauss also comes into the side and will captain from No.8.
For Sarries, there are five changes from the victory over Leicester, with Titi Lamositele and Sione Vailanu off on international duty. Christian Judge and Ben Earl start in their place, Sean Reffell comes in for Schalk Burger, and Henry Taylor starts at scrum half after an impressive display off the bench. Alex Lewington comes into the team to add experience to the back line, with Elliot Obatoyinbo benched. Joe Gray has successfully got through concussion protocols and will hope for more than two minutes this week - there is an experienced pair of props alongside him on the bench in Vincent Koch, not required by South Africa, and Richard Barrington. Calum Clark is given the responsibility of captaining the team, a move which I'm sure will be well received by Tigers fans.
The two teams look evenly balanced on paper, both with some very promising talent and a smattering of recovering first-teamers. Sadly this one isn't televised though!
James, Reed, Doherty, Leota, Odogwu, Wilkinson, Cliff; Bristow, Langdon, Jones, Postlethwaite, Ostrikov, Nott, Dugdale, Strauss (C)
Replacements: Dolly, J.Pope, Tarus, Birch, Booth, Warr, Roebuck, N.Pope
FORWARDS: Hayden Thompson-Stringer (27), Tom Woolstencroft (1), Christian Judge (3), Dom Day (15), Joel Kpoku (1), Calum Clark (19), Sean Reffell (4), Ben Earl (20).
BACKS: Matt Gallagher (19), Ali Crossdale (3), Marcelo Bosch (123), Dom Morris (6), Alex Lewington (7), Max Malins (16), Henry Taylor (10).
REPLACEMENTS: Joe Gray (1), Richard Barrington (143), Vincent Koch (44), Jack Nay (7), Andy Christie (0), Tom Whiteley (15), Reuben Bird-Tulloch (0), Elliott Obatoyinbo (1).