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Preview: Sale Sharks v Harlequins

Preview: Sale Sharks v Harlequins

Harlequins hooker Dave Ward admits Danny Cipriani is just one of the dangermen his side need to watch out for when they take on Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The Sharks are unbeaten at home in Premiership Rugby in 2015; their most recent defeat in the North West coming against Leicester on 27th December.

But Quins won’t be intimidated by that record after their 27-12 bonus-point victory at AJ Bell last season.

And with confidence riding high off the back of their 29-26 triumph over Gloucester Rugby, Ward is hopeful his side can move to within touching distance of Sale in the table.

“We knuckled down and knew how important that win was just so we could take it into the Sale game and battle for seventh place,” he explained.

“Sale came down to ours earlier in the season and did what they do best with guys like David Seymour and Dan Braid in their pack, it was a really dogged battle and they came out on top.

“But I remember going up there last season, playing our own game and putting on a show – hopefully we can get back to that this time.

“You can’t count them out, going through their whole backline, Sam Tuitupou and Mike Haley are so dangerous and for me, Tom Arscott has been one of the best backs in the Premiership this season.

“Added to the usual forwards battle we’ll have to be right on top of our game and that’s before you get to Danny Cipriani who is a triple threat; run, kick and pass.

“There’s no doubt about it, we are going to be relishing this – everyone and everything’s at stake.”

Sale don’t go into the game in the best of form, having won just one of their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby matches: 23-6 at home to Gloucester in round 18.
But equally Quins have not won on the road since they visited Castres in the European Rugby Champions Cup on January 24.
And after their 16-12 at victory at the Twickenham Stoop in round 8, the Sharks will be hoping for their first season's double over Quins since 2007/08.
Sale captain Braid accepts that Cipriani may have a big role to play in the match but insists his side must be tactically smart if they want to come away with the win.
“We’re really excited for the game against Quins with a big crowd and so much to play for,” he said.
“We’ve turned over a couple of big sides this season and Harlequins are another one who we targeted at the start of the season.
“We’re going to have to mix some very good defence for how they play and fire some shots ourselves.
“We’re not looking to individuals so much, when we’ve scrummed well we’ve created a platform for our backs and we’ve won games.

“So we have to be smart in what we’re doing as well as aggressive then bring Cipriani into the game like he can.”
(AJ Bell Stadium, 2pm)
Wayne Barnes (153rd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe & Roger Baileff. TMO: Trevor Fisher.

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