French heavyweights Clermont are next up for Sale Sharks but after downing Northampton Saints last time out, centre Sam Tuitupou insists his side are more than capable of producing another eye-catching result.
Sale fired a warning shot to the rest of their Aviva Premiership Rugby play-off rivals by beating the champions last weekend – and there was nothing fortuitous about the result.
Steve Diamond’s men held Northampton to one try – they had averaged nearly four a game before the contest – to haul themselves to within two points of fourth place.
Europe is now on the agenda and though the Sharks are out of contention, close encounters with Munster and Saracens in the competition could very well have fallen their way.
First and foremost however Sale will be looking for an improvement on a 35-3 loss to Clermont away from home but Tuitupou believes the team have a healthy enough appetite to produce another shock.
“The two losses we suffered before could have gone our way,” he said. “But with the European games it’s a big chance for us this week to have back-to-back wins against two champion sides which we haven’t done for a long time.
“We got a lot of confidence from last week’s win and we applied that to our training, so hopefully we’ll come out on top.
“All the guys are keen to get amongst it. These (European) games are the sort of fixtures we want to play in.
“We put in a lot of effort last year to qualify and I think we’ve still got a chance of beating a few teams this year.
“Also guys are still looking to play for positions and playing against the best teams that brings the best out in us.”
Former New Zealand international Tuitupou nearly missed the Saints game due to illness before producing a typically dynamic performance.
And he already has one eye on heaping more misery on a winless London Welsh when Aviva Premiership Rugby returns next month.
Tuitupou added: “I was struggling last week with the flu so I never trained at all. It was 50/50 whether I was going to play or not then my back tightened up as well, so I was surprised I even made half the game (against Saints).
“(Welsh) will have nothing to lose so they’ll come out and try to disrupt our game to hopefully secure their first win of the season, so for us it’s a big test.
“We don’t want to be resting players when we come up against London Welsh, it could all fall apart. It’s about getting the balance right and getting the players revving to go.”
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