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Preview: Sale Sharks v London Irish

Preview: Sale Sharks v London Irish

London Irish back row Declan Danaher admits his side will have to nullify the threat of Danny Cipriani if they’re to claim victory away to Sale Sharks on Friday night.

Both sides will need little motivation with Irish knowing victory will lift them to ninth while Sale would break into the top six with a win.

Cipriani has already contributed 70 points in the Aviva Premiership so far this season and his displays in pulling the strings for Sale have sparked talk of an England recall.

The 26-year-old’s performances have not passed Danaher by and the Irish co-captain admits his side will need to stop the former London Wasps No.10 dictating the game.

“Danny Cipriani has been playing well again and starting to dictate games so we will have to be wary,” he said.

“We need to be beating the teams around us so it means the Sale game is an important game, but they will be saying the same too.

“With this being a short turnaround week for us we only really had two days of training before we head up to Sale on Thursday so time has been against us.

“And Friday night up at Sale is never easy anyway because they tend to have strong and physical forward pack that can do you damage.

“But we are eager to get back to winning ways and fast so hopefully that happens up at Sale.”

The Sharks’ solo defeat at AJ Bell Stadium in their last four Premiership encounters there was 16-18 to Exeter on 1st November.

London Irish have won only one of their last eight fixtures in all tournaments: 24-13 over Stade Français at Madejski Stadium in the European Challenge Cup on 8th December, whilst their most recent victory in the Premiership was 18-13 at home to Harlequins on 5th October.

The Exiles have won just once on the road in the Premiership since early January: 20-18 at Worcester in round 2 this season.

London Irish have won just one of their last four encounters with the Sharks in the Premiership: 21-19 at Reading on 8th January 2012, whilst their only away victory at Sale since 2009 came at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton in April 2011. 

Between Wasps and Sale, Cipriani spent time in Australia with the Melbourne Rebels and will come face to face with an old team-mate on Friday in James O’Connor.

O’Connor joined Irish in October and while the visitors are wary of Cipriani, full-back Rob Miller insists Sale are aware of what the Australian can offer.

“We’re coming off a big win in Europe and it has given us a bit of momentum to take into the London Irish game,” he said.

“They have got some great players throughout their backline and James O’Connor is their star man who has come over and started really well in the Premiership and he’s someone we have to look out for.

“London Irish are in a similar position for us and we want to start climbing the table. He [Cipriani] is going really well and he’s always had the attacking flair and he’s really starting to show that now.” 

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (75th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Chris Sharp & Luke Pearce. TMO: Trevor Fisher.

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