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Mark Jennings: In-form Sale Sharks can topple Saracens

Sale Sharks’ Mark Jennings believes his in-form side are now reaping the fruits of their tough European campaign – and is confident they can continue their progress in the upcoming Aviva Premiership Rugby encounter with Saracens.

The Sharks scored four tries against at the AJ Bell Stadium against Wasps last Sunday – three of which came from the talismanic Denny Solomona – and resisted a spirited comeback from the league leaders to record their fifth straight win in all competitions.

And Jennings, who also crossed the whitewash himself after clinically finishing a training-ground move from a line out, is adamant his side can capitalise on their encouraging displays to target a result against Mark McCall’s side.

“If there’s any time to play Sarries then it’s while they’ve got the internationals away, but at this level, they’ve still got a lot of strength and depth and they’re a tight-knit unit,” Jennings said.

“It’s going to be a tough game but we’re going to go down there full of confidence, play our game, and just see what happens and hopefully come out on top on the day. Morale is high in team at the moment.”

Saturday’s encounter at Allianz Park will be the fourth clash between the two sides this season given their previous meetings in the European Champions Cup, and Sale will no doubt have learnt from their 50-3 humbling the last time they visited Allianz Park.

But the Namibian-born player has suggested that such bruising European fixtures were crucial building blocks in developing the team.

“We obviously have a lot of analysis we can do on them, having played them so much,” Jennings said.

“There’s a lot of pros and cons we’ve taken from the games we’ve already played against them, so hopefully we can get a result.

“I think now we’re seeing the fruits of having played in Europe, definitely. I think we were about eight losses on the bounce when we played Toulon away and everyone expected us to go there and get whitewashed, and the boys put in a good performance then.

“There was obviously a lot of frustration and training was getting grittier due to the losses.

“We just needed a change and to re-evaluate our goals for the season, such as targeting our home games and games in the Anglo-Welsh Cup as well – we’re using those as a platform to get back into the league and to keep driving forward.”

And Jennings only had words of praise for Sale’s new superstar Denny Solomona, who became the first Aviva Premiership Rugby player to score in his first five league matches during his hat-trick against the table-toppers on Sunday.

He said: “Denny reads the game so well defensively and attack, he’s always looking for work around the field and his try talent speaks for itself really.

“He pops up where you want him which is what you want from any winger. He leads from the front and he’ll only get better from there.”

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