Sale Sharks may not have hit the heights in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season but old boy Rob Miller has warned his Wasps side to tread carefully at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Both sides are coming off Boxing Day weekend defeats, but Wasps have more credit in the bank after stunning European victories over Toulon and Leinster already this year.
Sale made their own waves in Europe with back-to-back victories over Castres however – and were leading at Exeter Chiefs fortress, Sandy Park, in Round 7 before the hosts came storming back.
Added to the fact that Sale are unbeaten in all tournaments at the AJ Bell since April, Wasps could be in for a tough time on Saturday.
And full-back Miller says there will be no hiding place in Sale – but that Wasps are ready to respond after last week’s setback to champions Saracens.
“Steve Diamond is a very passionate guy who will really get their boys up for the game,” he says.
“Their big focus is on delivering at home, where they have a very strong record. Sale have a big, abrasive pack who will come at us hard with driving lineouts. They also have some pace out wide through the likes of Will Addison and Mike Haley which gives them options to move the ball around.
“With Danny Cipriani pulling the strings at fly half they also have some good running threats, and they pose a threat across the backline. He is a really instinctive player who can pick defences apart and has an excellent mix of skills, with good kicking and running games.
“We were disappointed to come away from last week’s game with nothing. Having looked at the DVD there was lots of stuff that went well, which gives us something to build on this week.”
Meanwhile, England hopeful Josh Beaumont is relishing the chance to test himself against some of the Red Rose’s most grizzled warriors as he looks to put further markers down with Sale.
New England coach Eddie Jones has been travelling the country in preparation for naming his first squad ahead of next year’s Six Nations, and 22-year-old forward Beaumont is a contender after a series of all-action displays.
“I know that this weekend is another big test,” admitted Beaumont. “You look at the Wasps squad and they have a lot of lads who have played international rugby, such as Joe Lanchbury and James Haskell, so it’s good to test yourself against these guys and see what level you are at.
“And if you can match them and make a bigger impact on the game than them then you have to see that as a positive and that’s what I want to achieve this weekend.
“Ultimately it’s all about the team but if you can win your individual battles, hopefully that will help affect the overall outcome of the game. But I’d much rather take a win and not play that well myself than the other way round.”
AJ Bell Stadium 5.30pm – Live on BT Sport
Referee: Luke Pearce (44th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Peter Allan & Greg Macdonald.
TMO: Trevor Fisher.