Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Sean O’Brien to make London Irish debut against in form Sale Sharks

Posted on 6 March 2020 by Hamish Percy
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British and Irish Lion and Ireland international Sean O’Brien will make his debut for London Irish as they travel to Sale Sharks on Friday.

O’Brien’s last appearance came ten months ago in Leinster’s Champions Cup final loss against Saracens. Later today, he will start at blindside flanker when London Irish travel to face Sale Sharks (Kick-off 20:00 GMT)

Sale Sharks also have a debutant in their ranks with South African World Cup winner Lood de Jager among their replacements.

A win for the Exiles in Manchester could take Irish up to 4th and into the play-off places. As for Sale, a bonus-point win could take the Sharks to the top of the Premiership table.

Sale smashed Irish earlier in the season 41-17 when the sides played at the Madejski Stadium back in October.

Sale’s star man Faf de Klerk is back on the bench while Denny Solomona comes in on the right wing for Scotland international Byron McGuigan, who takes his place on the bench.

O’Brien is one of three changes for the Exiles team which suffered defeat to Wasps last Sunday with 106 cap, Australian international, Sekope Kepu starting at tighthead prop and Ben Donnell returning.

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Before the clash, London Irish back-row Matt Rogerson spoke exclusively to the Sports Gazette:

“We know it’s going to be a tough battle up there. You never know what the weather is going to be like as well, we are expecting a physical game and it will be a tough ask in front of a hostile crowd,” Rogerson said.

“They (Sale) are probably the form team in the Premiership at the moment. We are fully aware that if we are able to beat a team like this says a lot about what we are capable of.

“We do feel like we are confident, and we can go up there and do a job. All the boys looking forward to it and should be a good challenge.”