Chris Cusiter admits Danny Cipriani is a scrum-half’s dream to play alongside as Sale Sharks gear up for a final push towards Aviva Premiership Rugby’s top four.
Sale are eight points behind the semi-final places with just four rounds to go, meaning they can ill-afford any more slip-ups along the way.
But victory over Gloucester Rugby last time out kept them in contention and with Cipriani back from England duty and pulling the strings, anything is possible at this stage of the season.
Cusiter has barely missed a beat for Sale in Aviva Premiership Rugby – starting 15 games and scoring three tries – after moving south of the border from Glasgow Warriors last summer.
And the Scotland international also tipped his hat to Sale’s mighty pack, which have given his and Cipriani’s half-back partnership room to breathe.
“It’s great to play alongside him – he can control a game,” he said. “The pack have been playing really well and that obviously helps us get some good ball.
“We generally perform well when our driving maul is strong and then off the back of that there’s a real threat at the back with Danny controlling that back line.
“I think that’s why he helps the forwards, because it maybe takes the focus off them a bit. He has that ability to create something out of nothing or to take advantage of little weaknesses in defence and that is probably what sets Danny apart.
“We were all disappointed he didn’t get more game time (for England), I think we all thought he’d play more. He’s had a good season and it’s been good to play with him. You’d always have Danny in the team for his natural ability.”
If the win over Gloucester was a sign of a team in form, Cusiter concedes they need to replicate it away from the AJ Bell Stadium.
Sale have lost three of their four Aviva Premiership Rugby away matches this calendar year but the 32-year-old is confident things will click against the Exiles.
“The way we played against Gloucester and especially at home this season, we’ve been really, really solid and we’ve played well, causing teams a lot of problems,” he added.
“We’ve been a bit more inconsistent on the road so we’ve a good chance to pick up a couple of away wins.
“There have been a few performances where we’ve been off the mark, Wasps and Leicester Tigers away for example, so we have two away games to prove we can play as well away from home as we can do at home.”
Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final are selling faster than this time last year so with just four rounds to go, now's the time to click here to book your place at the world's biggest club rugby final.