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Preview: Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints

Preview: Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints are back on the horse after an opening-round setback but Johnny Leota believes Sale Sharks can bring them back down to earth with a thud.

The Saints were overturned by newly-promoted Worcester Warriors in their Aviva Premiership Rugby season opener, before beating Newcastle Falcons 42-16 last weekend.

Next up is a trip to the AJ Bell Stadium and it is a tough place to go, with Sale having been beaten just once in their last six games at the venue.

The most recent of those was against Worcester in the previous round, when Sale emerged with maximum points following a 27-13 triumph.

And Sharks centre Leota is eager to ensure Northampton, who topped the regular-season table last year, also leave empty-handed.

“If we can do what we did against Worcester, which was building our phases and waiting for gaps to open, then hopefully we should find some joy,” he said.

“Luther Burrell used to play here so we know him and I’ve played with George (Pisi) for Samoa for the last four years, him and his brother Ken are good players so we know a little about them too.

“When we play against teams like Northampton we tend to bring our game, so if we can bring the attitude and the hunger then there’s no reason why we shouldn’t think we can beat them.”

Sale’s last four Aviva Premiership Rugby games have each been won by the home side on the day, while the Saints have not won on the road in any competition since February.

On top of that, the last five meetings between these two in Aviva Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side but Northampton prop Paul Hill is not overawed by the form book.

“They are always a tough outfit, especially at home, but we have just got to go right back at them and stick to what we are about,” he said.

“I have had a quick look at them. With Cips (Danny Cipriani) playing, he is always a threat and you have got to keep an eye out for people like him.

“At Premiership level every team is quite strong across the board and Sale are no exception to that. They are really strong up front but if we stick to our guns, we should go well.”

To see all of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby season fixtures, please click here #AvivaPrem

Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints (AJ Bell Stadium, 2.30pm)
Referee: Andrew Small (119th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey & Andrew Jackson. TMO: David Grashoff.

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