Injuries to the national team permitting, Sale will not lose two key players in Danny Cipriani and Michael Paterson to England duty later this November. However the teams fielded for the games against London Irish, Harlequins and possibly Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership later this month will be a marked departure from the team's supposed "first-choice 15" as many amongst Sale's ranks have received the call to represent their respective national teams in this year's autumn internationals. Lets take a look at how the latest round of international fixtures will affect the Sale squad.
Who Has Been Called Up?
With all national squads now announced we know for certain that Sale will be without:
What Impact Will This Have On The Squad?
All of the above are players likely to be involved in Sale Sharks' match day 23 in some capacity so obviously their absence will require Steve Diamond to rotate the squad around, what changes therefore can we expect to see?
Alberto Di Marchi - Aside from the occasional glimpse of ability in the loose, Alberto Di Marchi has been for all intense and purposes, a bust for Sale, failing to replicate his form as Italy's first choice loosehead prop for the Sharks. Predominately starting on the bench for Sale this season, look for academy product James Flynn or fellow summer-signing Darren Fearn to take his spot on the 'pine'.
Shalva Mamukashvili - Only one option here to replace the Georgian and that is 19 year-old Cameron Neild, with Tommy Taylor still out with injury.
Vilhami Fihaki - Fihaki has been a non-factor for Sale this season starting only one game in the LV Cup last weekend and playing only a total of 79 minutes in four separate appearances in the Premiership this season. That considered, Mark Easter will likely retain his place as No.8 in Premiership games although the performance of Josh Beaumont at the weekend or a possible switch for Magnus Lund could displace Easter and move him to the bench.
Chris Cusiter - Will Cliff is the obvious replacement to Cusiter as Sale's backup scrum-half. That being said, it would be interesting to see Nathan Fowles get a chance to log 60 or so minutes as a starter although I wouldn't count on it happening.
Johnny Leota - Leota's absence should hopefully pave the way for the impressive Mark Jennings to get another extended run in the first team as he had earlier this season although likely at outside centre as opposed to inside. Will Addison, who Diamond perhaps sees as more of a natural 13 considering his use of Jennings predominately as a 12 this year could also get the nod to replace Leota. At this point and with Addison's injury status in the air, either of the two could go into the first team.
Luke McLean - Mike Haley's impressive two-game cameo for Sale in the first rounds of the European Rugby Champions Cup should have consolidated his place at full-back with McLean unavailable. Tom Arscott is also an outside bet to start at 15 especially if Mark Cueto is fit to start on the left wing although additional exposure for one of Sale's brighter talents in Haley should not be missed in this writer's opinion.
Likely Starting Lineup For The Irish, Harlequins and (possibly) Falcons Games
Lewis-Roberts, Jones, Cobilas, Mills, Paterson, Braid, Seymour, Easter, Cliff, Cipriani, Arscott, Tuitupou, Jennings, Brady, Haley.
Bench: Fearn, Neild, Harrison, Beaumont, Lund, Fowles, Ford, Addison
Anything you want Shark Tank Rugby to cover in the future or got specific thoughts on Sale's team for the next few weeks? Leave a comment or tweet to @SharkTankRugby