London Wasps’ trip to Sale Sharks may not be crucial in terms of the Aviva Premiership standings but according to Sharks hooker Tommy Taylor it’s absolutely vital his team sign off a below-par campaign with a much-needed win.
Until a late season run of form and a points’ deduction for London Welsh; Sale has been battling against the dreaded drop from the Aviva Premiership all season.
But with the chance of still finishing ninth in the table should the Sharks secure a bonus-point win against out-of-form London Wasps; Taylor admits Sale will go out all guns blazing at the weekend.
Sale’s 47-7 defeat at Northampton Saints in the last round of the Aviva Premiership ended a three-game unbeaten run, while they have won just one of their last six fixtures at the Salford City Stadium in all competitions.
Comparatively London Wasps have slipped to seven straight defeats in all tournaments since their 33-29 home-win over Gloucester Rugby in February, while they have only won once away to Sale since 2005.
And Taylor admits the arrival of London Wasps to Salford at the weekend offers a fantastic opportunity to end their season on a relative high.
“There’s pressure ahead of the game because it’s the last chance to impress as a team – not to really build for next season but to wrap this season up positively,” said Taylor.
“We’ve had quite a poor season and obviously with us being at home it would be nice to end there.
“The pressure comes from being at home and the fact we’re not going to play again for four or five months so you want to give everything to get the win.
“There’s a bit of a marker needed for next season and pre-season and if we have a good win at the end of the season we can look back to this at the start of the next campaign, especially after the result last week, which was pretty disappointing.
“We can look back at the Wasps game and say we got a good win, and that can spur us on to a good pre-season.”
London Wasps centre Chris Bell admits the 2012/2013 campaign has been unrecognisable to 12 months earlier and revealed the off-field stability at the club has helped transform results on it.
“Twelve months ago seems like such a long time in rugby – this time last year it was a very different situation as we prepared for our final game of the season,” said Bell.
“We were scrapping for our lives on and off the field but so much has gone on and changed off the field in that period.
“The long-term of future of the club is now secure, we have produced some good performances and results on the field this season but it shows how far we've come as a club that we're annoyed about out form in the last few games.”
Referee: Dean Richards (59th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Ashley Rowden & Gordon Goodliffe.