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Preview: Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers

Preview: Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers

Sale Sharks attack coach Paul Deacon insists his side need to improve and quickly if they are to earn an Aviva Premiership Rugby top-six finish this season.

The Sharks have slipped to back-to-back defeats against Wasps and Northampton Saints in recent weeks and with Leicester in town this Easter, Deacon is targeting a win to resurrect Sale’s season.

Sale Sharks' only victory in their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby matches was 29-23 at home to Harlequins in March – a statistic that needs to change against Leicester Tigers.

A positive note though for the Sharks is they have not lost in any competition at the AJ Bell Stadium since Harlequins were the visitors in Premiership Rugby on April 25.

“We always approach our home games as games we expect to win,” said Deacon. “This week is no different although we are playing Leicester Tigers who are one of the biggest clubs in the Premiership if not the biggest club.

“We’ve got our work cut out and from our last two performances we need to see a big improvement on them but we have reminded the players that we’ve had some great performances this year.

“Consistency has let us down these past two weeks but hopefully we can sort that out in training, turn up with the right mindset, get the performance right and the result will look after itself.

“We’ve got a decent run-in. We don’t have to win six out of six to make the top six so there isn’t that feeling yet about every game being a cup final.

“We just need to start performing better than we have been in the past couple of weeks. We’re focused on the performance rather than the bigger picture.”

Leicester Tigers' only defeat in their last four rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby was 36-24 to Wasps in Coventry in round 16.

However, the Tigers have won just once away from home in 2016: 19-18 at Gloucester at the end of January.

Sale beat Leicester 10-3 at Welford Road in round 11 and has only once before achieved a season's Premiership double over Tigers in 2008.

Leicester has won on their last five visits to Sale since a 15-12 reversal at Edgeley Park in September 2009.

And Leicester’s Telusa Veainu is only too aware of the challenge facing the Tigers this weekend against one of the most formidable home teams in the Premiership.

“The game at Sale will be a tough one for sure because I think they are the only Aviva Premiership Rugby team still unbeaten at home,” he said.

“We are aware of that and we know that we will need to be at our best if we want to get anything out of the game.

“Having said that, all we are doing is focussing on ourselves and really making sure we do what we need to do in order to get the win.

“It will be tough but we are going there confident off the back of the win against Saracens.

“We haven’t really spoken too much about our difficulties away from home, it is something we are not thinking about.

“But I think a few away games we haven’t had the same mindset we do when we are at home so it is about making sure we correct that, starting with Sale.”

AJ Bell Stadium, 1pm – Live on BT Sport

Referee: Tom Foley (17th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson & Kevin Stewart. TMO: Stuart Terheege.

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