Josh McNally will make his return to action from the start when Bath Rugby take on Sale Sharks in their first Gallagher Premiership match of 2023 on Friday night.
The 32-year-old featured three times at the beginning of the season before injuring his shoulder. After almost four months of rehabilitation with the club’s medical team, he has been named in the second row alongside Dave Attwood.
HUBOO MATCH PREVIEW: SALE SHARKS (A)
There is a similar story for Beno Obano who has been sidelined with a knee injury sustained on the opening day of the season. The England prop is back on the bench following a similar timeframe to McNally.
The starting pack has five changes in total from the draw against Glasgow Warriors last time out. Valeriy Morozov takes the one jersey against his former club while Niall Annett starts at hooker with Tom Dunn on international duty. D’Arcy Rae is reinstated at tighthead prop with Attwood and McNally pairing up in the lock positions.
The back row of Ted Hill, Chris Cloete and Miles Reid will link up once again.
Captain Ben Spencer is promoted back to a starting berth and partners Orlando Bailey in the half-back slots, while Max Ojomoh switches from wing to inside centre. Jonathan Joseph joins him in the midfield with Ollie Lawrence away with England.
Matt Gallagher and Will Butt are named in the back three along with Joe Cokanasiga to complete the backline.
On the bench, Sam Underhill is fit to be selected and Scotland international Cameron Redpath is available – another set to take on his ex-team.
Bath Rugby team to play Sale Sharks
Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Will Butt, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ben Spencer ©; 1 Valeriy Morozov, 2 Niall Annett, 3 D’Arcy Rae, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Josh McNally, 6 Ted Hill, 7 Chris Cloete, 8 Miles Reid
Impact players: 16 Tom Doughty, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Fergus Lee-Warner, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Cameron Redpath, 23 Sam Underhill
Sale Sharks: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Sam James, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Tom O'Flaherty, 10 Rob du Preez, 9 Gus Warr; 1 Simon McIntyre, 2 Tommy Taylor, 3 Nick Schonert, 4 Cobus Wiese, 5 Josh Beaumont, 6 Jono Ross (c), 7 Sam Dugdale, 8 Jean-Luc de Preez
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Joe Jones, 19 Alex Groves, 20 Rouban Birch, 21 Raffi Quirke, 22 Luke James, 23 Arron Reed