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Cueto makes case for Sale Sharks defence

Sale Sharks’ season so far has been a case of what might have been according to Mark Cueto but the winger is adamant that no-one in the side is pressing the panic button just yet.

Only two wins from their first six Aviva Premiership Rugby games and two defeats to open up their European campaign does not tell the whole story.

Mere seconds away from a magnificent victory over Irish powerhouse Munster in Europe before a late Ian Keatley drop goal denied them, the Sharks have also run both Bath Rugby and Gloucester Rugby close this season.

The miserly defence that carried Steve Diamond’s troops to sixth in the table last season has not been repeated this campaign however.

And Cueto, who is recovering from injury and unlikely to feature this weekend against London Irish, admits it is high time he and his teammates turned things around.

“We’ve had a stop-start beginning of the season, not playing for 80 minutes,” he said.

“Last weekend for example (in the LV= Cup), great 40, terrible 40. Then a great performance in the Munster game but we missed out on the result. So we need to tidy it up.

“Everyone talks about playing for 80 minutes, I know it’s an old cliché, but I don’t think we’re far off.

“Once we start putting it all together we’ll compete against anybody. It’s certainly not a case of sitting here thinking ‘we’ve thrown the kitchen sink at this and it’s not working. Where do we go next?’  

“Our attack’s been very good and we’ve scored a lot of tries but on the flipside we have conceded a lot more compared to last year where our defence was solid.”

The Sharks have an impressive home record against the Exiles in recent seasons, indeed the visitors have not won at Sale since the Sharks took their 2010/11 home fixture to the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.

And Cueto is confident that his teammates will be able to get the hosts back on the winning trail.

“Over the past two or three years we’ve been similar in league finishes, though we tend to go well against them at home,” he added.

“I think we’ve won our last four against them in the league but probably lost our last four away as well.

“So it’s a game we have a lot of confidence going into but we do need to put it to bed for the confidence of the team.”
 
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