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Match Preview: Sale Sharks v Montpellier

Match Preview: Sale Sharks v Montpellier

Sale Sharks forward Magnus Lund believes European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final opponents Montpellier will bring a South African flavour to proceedings when the two teams clash on Friday.

South African World Cup winning coach Jake White, who took over at Montpellier in 2014, has 13 countrymen in his squad and the sides face off at the AJ Bell Stadium with both teams in form.

Sharks come into the game on the back of two wins in Aviva Premiership Rugby while White’s men are flying high in the Top 14 with six consecutive wins putting them second in the table.

Lund is relishing the tie but dismissed claims of French sides traditionally not travelling well.

He said: “I think they're more of a South African side than a French team really. And they are used to travelling, in Super Rugby they move around so we'll go into it expecting a full blown performance from them.

“Hopefully they'll be a big challenge for us because we seem to step up better when we play against these bigger teams.

“It obviously took a while for Jake White's system to bed in because I think they were quite different to what a lot of other French sides do, and I remember reading something saying they weren't to play in their own half especially when they were away from home.

“Now you can see his ideas are bearing fruit because of the run they're on and league position too.”

Sharks are unbeaten in Aviva Premiership Rugby at home this season and conceded the fewest points and tries of all teams during the pool stages of the Challenge Cup.

They topped Pool 2 with five wins from six games as their French opponents finished second in Pool 3, behind Harlequins, losing twice.

Sharks lost their opening pool game, away at Newport Gwent Dragons, but Lund thinks that gave them the kick they needed to win their remaining games.

The 32-year-old flanker said: “That almost forced our hand really because after that we had no chance to let up. And seeing the Dragons do so well in France too, we had to follow their lead.

“That gave us the kick we needed and maybe made us realise this competition is tougher than you think.

“You might have thought we were going to walk some games but it's a tough cup and we've got some good victories and memories already. Hopefully we can keep that run going.”

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