London Irish will be hoping to set up a key clash with Newcastle Falcons in a fortnight’s time with the teams on level points by beating Sale Sharks this weekend, according to hooker David Paice.
Aviva Premiership Rugby’s bottom two teams are currently separated by four points, with just four rounds of games to go after Irish closed the gap by picking up a losing bonus point last week.
In round 19 Irish host Sale at the Madejski Stadium, while Newcastle have to travel to Harlequins.
Then after a brief European break, the two will go head-to-head, and Paice would love for them to be level on points for that Kingston Park game.
“We’re hoping Quins can do us a favour against Newcastle, and we know how important the next two games are,” said Paice.
“Sale are a great team and we saw how they did against Leicester so we’ll have to be at our best this weekend.
“Danny Cipriani is obviously in great form, and then you have guys like Sam Tuitupou, and Bryn Evans who we know well here at Irish.
“He’s having a good season, but hopefully from my point of view he won’t manage any lineout steals this weekend.
“If we can stop them getting on the front foot, then we will have a chance, and we feel like we’ve been improving in recent weeks, even if the results haven’t always been there.”
They will take on a Sale team that is full of confidence, but much stronger at home than away.
As the only unbeaten team at home in Europe, Sale are very tough to beat at the AJ Bell Stadium, but their record on the road has not been as strong.
Winger Will Addison was influential in Sunday’s win over Leicester, and wants to put right those away day struggles.
He explained: “I've never won at the Madejski so we really want to show the form we have done at home.
“Also Dimes (Steve Diamond) has alluded to the games we have won away this year, the two in France and against Leicester, all three being massively difficult places to win.
“We're going to try and take characteristics from those games into this week against Irish. The start will be massive because we know they are playing for their lives and their jobs at the minute so we know what they're going to be like. We've been in that position ourselves.”
Madejski Stadium, 3pm
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (16th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff & Roy Maybank. TMO: Sean Davey.