The Anglo-Welsh Cup may be in the early stages of competition, but Dan Mugford already believes a young Sale Sharks side can plot a route all the way to the final.
Sharks have enjoyed a strong start to the pool stages, overcoming Aviva Premiership Rugby high-flyers Wasps 17-13 at the AJ Bell Stadium last Friday night.
It’s a result which has given Mugford and co. some much-needed momentum, though a tough away trip to Ashton Gate awaits on Friday when Bristol Rugby play hosts.
But with a youthful line-up impressing thus far, and a 31-13 league win over Bristol already under their belts, Mugford is confident Sale can find success at Ashton Gate once again.
Click here for the latest fixtures and results from the Anglo-Welsh Cup
“We want to keep the momentum going after the good win first up,” he said.
“Hopefully we’ll get some better conditions and go down there and get another victory.
“It’s given us a positive vibe heading into this week, and it’s a competition that we really want to compete in.
“We’d like to be in the mix – in the semi-finals for sure and perhaps go all the way and get to the finals.
“We’ve got a strong squad and a lot of young guys have got a lot of talent and hopefully we can do that.”
— Sale Sharks (@SaleSharksRugby) November 7, 2016
The fly-half signed for Sharks over the summer, slotting straight into his side’s Aviva Premiership Rugby plans following his step-up from Championship outfit Nottingham.
But it was the sight of fellow newcomer Josh Charnley appearing off the bench that caught the eye of those at the AJ Bell Stadium last Friday – his first appearance in a Sale shirt since a cross-code switch from rugby league’s Wigan Warriors.
Despite the hype, it was a quiet debut for Charnley after coming on as a late replacement, though Mugford is confident the 25-year-old will waste little time coming to the fore.
Click here for the latest Anglo-Welsh Cup tables and an explanation of the format of the tournament
“He unfortunately didn’t do a lot, and I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that,” joked Mugford.
“There was a lot of time in the rain, but he made a tackle and he’s looking better in training every day and I’m looking forward to seeing him get on the pitch again.
“Hopefully we can get him a bit more of the ball and see what he can do with it.
“The Anglo-Welsh Cup is a great opportunity for young players to come out and play for the first team, show what they can do and stick their hands up to be picked once Aviva Premiership Rugby starts again.”
The second round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend. For full details of the tournament and tickets for the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March see www.new-heroes.com