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Preview: Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks

Preview: Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks

Every team is in for a rough ride when they play Sale Sharks at home, but centre Sam James admits now is the time for his side to replicate those performances on the road.

Starting on an away run this week will be a tough task indeed as Leicester Tigers are one of only three teams, alongside Saracens and Exeter Chiefs, to have a 100 per cent home record still intact in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season.

And though Sale have only lost once in seven league games, their last Aviva Premiership Rugby victory on their travels came against London Welsh on February 2015.

The key, according to James, will be to get the basics right – and he knows their away form must improve sooner rather than later if they are to challenge in the top half.

“We turn our home games into a fortress and we expect to win those, but in order to climb a few places we’re going to have to take away wins such as Leicester at the weekend,” he said.

“If we can sneak points there that lifts us up and then we can climb the ladder – if we take our home performances away we should trouble a lot of teams.

“Leicester will want a big fight around the breakdowns so we have to be smart about where we play the ball, play it in their half basically and control the game. 

“We need to be in their face and stop them from getting any ball, keep piling on the pressure, then we can think about playing it about a bit more and execute something a bit more fancy.”

Leicester have also won their last dozen fixtures against Sale, though will again be without Ben Youngs and Dan Cole this weekend due to the Six Nations.

But scrum-half Sam Harrison, who started as Leicester edged Gloucester Rugby at Kingsholm last time out, does not believe any player’s absence gives his side an excuse on Saturday.

“Sale have got good quality across the board as has every team across the competition,” he said. “At this stage of the season when the Six Nations are on, I don’t think it makes too much difference whether Sale or ourselves have got players away or not as the quality is still there. 

“We’re ready to come in and we’re not really thinking about what they can do to us this week.

“We’re concentrating on our own performance and what we can put right from the Gloucester game, and we need to be aware of not letting it slip.”

Welford Road, 3pm

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (100th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Paul Burton. TMO: Trevor Fisher.

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