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Preview: Sale Sharks v London Irish

Preview: Sale Sharks v London Irish

Sale Sharks are a formidable outfit on home soil but Fergus Mulchrone believes heading to the AJ Bell Stadium off the back of an away win gives London Irish a leg up.

London Irish are yet to win on the road in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season, though they have won each of their last two league outings at the Madejski Stadium.

They also arrive in the North West off the back of victory in France, having completed their European Rugby Challenge Cup pool with a 31-17 win at Agen that saw them reach the quarter-finals.

And while Sale have been beaten just once at the AJ Bell Stadium in the last 12 months in Aviva Premiership Rugby, Mulchrone believes it is not beyond the Exiles to overturn their hosts.

“They have a good home record and it has proved to be a tough place to go and play,” he said. “We haven’t had good performances up there for the last couple of years.

“We knew that going to France they would be very physical and try to bully us around the park and I don’t really expect much change going up to Sale. They have got a very dominant pack, who have been very effective up there.

“Winning in France was a big boost for us and another win away from home can do a lot for our cause back in the Premiership, especially with Worcester Warriors the weekend after.”

Victory over Agen ended a ten-match losing streak on the road in all competitions for Irish but they face a Sale side with just one defeat in their last six matches.

That came at the hands of Aviva Premiership Rugby high-flyers Exeter Chiefs and Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond is eager to ensure they don’t lose any momentum in a bid to move into the top half of the table.

"London Irish are a side going through a bit of transition, with new coaches,” said Diamond.

“But they seem to have got their act together with a couple of good wins against Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints and they've won games in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, so they'll be coming confident. We've got to carry on the way we've been playing.

“We're not too far off where we want to be, we’ve just got to convert. In the last couple of weeks, Danny (Cipriani) has been on top form with his kicking and directing the team and the forwards have turned up, so if you've got those things, you've got a good chance of winning."

AJ Bell Stadium, 2.30pm

Referee: Greg Garner (89th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee & Gareth Copsey. TMO: Keith Lewis.

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