Saracens travel up the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford to take on a rejuvenated Sale Sharks team in round 14 of the Aviva Premiership. Henry Fraser previews Friday’s opponents.
Sale Sharks – Form guide, won 7, lost 6.
It’s amazing how much a team can turn around from one season the next. It was this time last year that Sale were hitting a good run of form to save their season and show their true ability. An end of season run seems to be a recurring thing for the Sharks. If they hit that form again this season, they will push any team.
Currently sitting sixth in the league they will be looking to push on – they are only two points behind the Tigers and Quins.
One of the reasons for the Sharks good league position is their fantastic home form. They have won five of their seven home games including two with four try bonus points. They will definitely be very tough to beat and Sarries will have to be at the top of their game if they are going to win.
They have a strong yet mobile front row that will carry a lot. The second rows are tireless workers that will ruck hard trying to create fast ball. If Seymour and Braid are both playing in the back row Sarries will have to be very quick to support each other as if the flankers are given a sniff they will turn the ball over or at least slow the ball down.
The back line poses threats in all areas. Dwayne Peel offers a running threat around the breakdown and can take the pressure of Cipriani letting him run the game with his creative flair. He must be shut down early or he can take the game away from a team. The centres provide a lot of power that can break through any defence and release the fast outside backs including the experience of Mark Cueto.
Sale like to start games very strong, they really come out of the blocks firing. Nearly two thirds of their tries have come in the first half with a lot of tries scored by the back row, centres and wingers. Saracens will have to keep things very tight early on and not let the Sharks get an early lead.
There is no doubt that Sale Sharks will provide a huge test on Friday. Sarries will be looking to get a win after back to back losses. It’s shaping up to be a great game.
30/11/13 Saracens 24 – 19 Sale Sharks
10/3/13 Sale Sharks 21 – 15 Saracens
6/1/13 Saracens 32 – 12 Sale Sharks
Players to watch
Rob Miller – He has found his form that got rugby fans talking and excited about his future. Miller’s all round ability is outstanding and there’s few things he can’t do. He’s great under the high ball with speed that is as quick as anyone. This speed gives him great counter attacking abilities that will punish any wayward kicks or poor kick chases. His armoury also includes long range kicks at goal which can punish a team from well inside his own half.