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LV= Cup Preview: Sale Sharks v Scarlets

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Sale Sharks fly-half Joe Ford is eager for his side to build on the positives from last week when they host the Scarlets in the LV= Cup on Saturday.

Sale lost 39-19 at Newcastle Falcons on Sunday to end their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals following October’s defeat to Leicester at Welford Road.

Scarlets are also unable to reach the knock-out stages, defeats to Northampton Saints and Cardiff Blues ending their challenge this season before last week’s 27-18 win at home to London Irish.

Both sides sit eighth in their respective domestic leagues and will be hoping to use their upcoming clash at the AJ Bell Stadium to build some momentum as they go chasing European and play-off places in the coming months.

And Ford feels the Sharks are showing encouraging signs, despite last week’s set-back, a game which swung when the fly-half himself was sin-binned just before half-time.

“The positives were we were playing into a strong wind and there were only seven points in it until my silly yellow card,” he said.

“Then they scored from that line-out to put us 26-12 down with only 14 men.

“So if we can go in with 15 men 19-12 down and playing with the wind, I think it’s a different game.

“It’s about momentum now so we need a win to go into the London Welsh game the week after. We don’t like losing at home and we pride ourselves on our home performances so it’s a massive game.

“I think there’ll be a few of the first team guys coming back into the fold as well, so with a stronger pack it’ll be a good chance for us to put a marker down.”

Meanwhile, Scarlets hooker Darran Harris is happy with the opportunities the LV=Cup gives young players like him to develop their games at the highest level, and hopefully impress enough to keep their place permanently.

“There have been lots of ups and downs but I’m getting game time now with the Scarlets and I’m looking to kick on for the rest of the season,” he said.

“Injuries have opened doors – as one door closes another one opens. I’m concentrating on my own game and see what happens.

“That’s what the LV= Cup is used for – give players like myself an opportunity to develop and show what you can do. It’s just a case of knuckling down, hard work and see what comes of it. It’s always going to be tough but I enjoy the challenge.

“The victory last week, and second-half fightback, stands us in good stead going into this weekend.

“It’s a fresh start for us this weekend. Sale is a tough place to go but I’m sure we’ll go up there with a lot of positivity and give them a good go. We’re going there looking for a W and we’ll back ourselves to perform.”

Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.

 

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