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Preview: London Irish v Sale Sharks

Preview: London Irish v Sale Sharks

Chris Cusiter is hoping victory at London Irish on Sunday will act as a catalyst as Sale Sharks look to generate some momentum going into the final few games of the Aviva Premiership Rugby season.

Sale have only won one of their last three league matches and currently sit in seventh position, but they did beat Gloucester Rugby 23-6 last time out.

However, their main problem this season has been their away form, having only won one match in all competitions since November, a 52-12 victory over London Welsh.

They have also not won at the Madejski Stadium since 2006 but former Glasgow Warrior Cusiter is confident they can overcome that jinx which could spark a run of form until the end of the season.

“Last year with Glasgow we played at Munster and we won,” said the 32-year-old scrum-half.

“It was not the first time ever as we’d won a few times, but it’s a tough place to go. We then got on a roll for the last few games of the season, winning something like nine on the bounce up to the final, so we got some confidence. I’m hoping for something similar this season.

“Going away from home doesn’t seem to be that big a deal as everyone knows what they’re doing. That’s the kind of momentum you want.

“Obviously we have two home games after that and Exeter are playing really well and are above us in the league after some great wins there so that’s a tough game.”

Sale comfortably won the reverse fixture at the AJ Bell Stadium in November, 36-8, and are hoping to record a first Aviva Premiership Rugby double over the Exiles since the 2005/06 season.

Irish come into the game on the back of a 22-21 victory over Newcastle and are looking to achieve their first back-to-back victories in the league since February 2014.

They currently sit tenth in the table, 14 points behind the Sharks, but Nic Rouse, a former Sale player, says his side have a point to prove on Sunday.

“That day [in the last match against Sale] wasn’t the performance we wanted to put in and we know as a team we could have played a bit better,” said the 34-year-old.

“A few of the boys will feel as though they have a point to prove on Sunday.

“We don’t want to be around the bottom of the table, but results haven’t gone our way and we are where we are.

“But we know we need to be winning more games. We want to be in the top seven and have a crack at playing in the top European competition. The Premiership is our bread and butter.”

(Madejski Stadium, 3pm)
Greg Macdonald (2nd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick & Ross Campbell. TMO: Stuart Terheege.

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