There is never a good time to play Leicester Tigers, especially at Welford Road, but according to flanker Julian Salvi last season’s Aviva Premiership runners up are chomping at the bit to put Sale Sharks to the sword this weekend.
Leicester have lost their last two Premiership matches at the hands of league-leaders Harlequins and more surprisingly at home to play-off rivals Saracens last time out, with the London side returning home with 32-27 win.
That run has seen Salvi and co. slip to third in the table, just four points clear of fifth-placed London Wasps with the possibility of failing to make the play-offs now an outside possibility for the nine-time Premiership champions.
This weekend they welcome bottom-club Sale, who will arrive in good shape having won four of their last five in all competitions.
And while Australian Salvi expects another tough Aviva Premiership clash, he admits even the thought of losing three on the spin is giving the Leicester players sleepless nights.
"Having lost our last two games we know it is really important that we win our next one, especially at Welford Road,” he said.
"We never like to lose at Welford Road and to do that was extremely disappointing so we are looking to put that right straight away.
"Sale are a quality side who have had some mixed results but they are improving. In the last five weeks or so they have really developed their game and are playing some excellent footy at the moment.
“They have picked up some vital wins, so we are under no illusions it is going to be an easy game – it is going to be extremely difficult because they are going to come here and play a tough brand of rugby.
"We are pushing for the top two to try and cement a home semi-final and Sale are playing to cement their future in the Aviva Premiership so both teams are playing for everything at this point.
"We have to make sure that we are on our game and do our best to make sure we don't mess up."
Sale’s very own Antipodean, New Zealander Daniel Braid, has been credited with much of Sale’s recent good form since arriving on these shores at the turn of the year.
And the flanker admits he has been impressed by the quality of rugby in the Aviva Premiership.
“I’ve been very impressed with the standard of the rugby so far,” he said.
“There’s different focuses than Super Rugby, maybe not quite as fast, but definitely the physicality and the scrummaging is a lot longer – all little adjustments I’ve had to make.
“But the level of the player’s skill and the teams that we’ve come up against is very impressive.
“Some of the attacking, particularly against Harlequins, and the way they attack – that’s Super Rugby standard. It’s not what I expected, but it’s great to be part of really good games and I expect the same at Leicester.”
Referee: Wayne Barnes (117th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Peter Huckle & Gordon Goodliffe.