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Preview: Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks

Preview: Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks

If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, then in the case of the Aviva Premiership Sale Sharks better batten down the hatches with Luther Burrell warning them they are in for a fight after Northampton Saints had their perfect record taken away from them at the death.

Burrell and co looked like they would make it three wins from their first three games of the new season against Gloucester Rugby last weekend when Jamie Elliott put Northampton 24-23 ahead with just a minute left.

But with 83 minutes on the clock Saints were penalised at a scrum and Billy Twelvetrees knocked over the resulting penalty to hand the Cherry & Whites their first win of the season.

Northampton don’t have to wait long to set the record straight however as Sale visit on Friday night, the Saints having won their last five Aviva Premiership matches under the bright Franklin’s Gardens lights and in front of the BT Sport cameras.

And centre Burrell is not about to let this impressive Friday record come to an end in round four, especially with the heartbreak of the Gloucester defeat still fresh in Saints minds.

"We have had a very intense week of training,” he said. “The lads were very disappointed to lose at Gloucester coming off the back of two victories but it has made us more determined to put things right this weekend.

"It's about our reaction now. The boys were disappointed and we are going to come out fighting this Friday back in front of our home crowd.

"Sale have had a brilliant start but it is about us and if we can stick to our game plan hopefully with being back at home we can get back to winning ways.

"We have watched a bit of Danny Cipriani and a few of their players and they have got some good experience but it is about ourselves. We have our own personal jobs to do and we just need to do that individually and collectively."

Sale will arrive in Northampton on good form with their only defeat in their last four matches coming in round two when they fell 15-14 at home to Newcastle Falcons.

However, as the Sharks bid to win back-to-back away league games for the first time since the start of the 2008/09 season the omens aren’t good as they have beaten Northampton just once in the last nine attempts.

Sale have also not tasted victory at Franklin’s Gardens since May 2006 but after making a mockery of last season’s start – where the Sharks had to wait until round eight to taste victory – Jonathan Mills is hoping all that can change Friday night.

“If we had looked at the games we had first three up I think we would have said nine points as a good benchmark, so it has been a good start,” he said.

“It is a shame it is not three wins from three but that is the league we are in and anyone can beat anyone.

“It is a good start but we have Northampton away next up so we have to focus on that and hopefully carry this on.” 

Referee: David Rose (114th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Stuart Terheege & Nigel Carrick. TMO: Rowan Kitt.

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