Worcester Warriors are still looking for their first Aviva Premiership victory of the season but ahead of their trip to Sixways, Sale Sharks fly-half Danny Cipriani admits it is only a matter of time.
The Warriors have delivered two heroic performances but gained little reward in recent weeks, running defending champions Leicester Tigers close and giving Northampton Saints a run for their money.
The Tigers eventually pulled through 23-22 thanks to Toby Flood’s penalty and Saints pulled clear to triumph 30-14 after Worcester captain Jonathan Thomas was sent off.
Cipriani took note of both performances and the Sharks fly-half is wary of a Worcester team whose first Aviva Premiership win this season appears to be drawing close.
“We’ve played them four times this season and each time they’ve been getting better and improving,” he said.
“If you watch the last couple of weeks they pushed Leicester close and there was one point in it.
“They’ve got some quality players. Chris Pennell and David Lemi, who I played with, he’s a little jack-in-the-box and you just don’t know what you’re going to get with him and where he’s going to go, he’s got magic feet. So thereare a lot of people you’ve got to keep an eye on.
“I think mentally we’ve got to have the same resolve as going into the Saracens game and get ourselves up for it in the same way. We can’t step back even a fraction because they’re a team that can put anyone away.
“That’s the thing about this league – you’ve got London Irish beating Saracens and Wasps away in the last couple of weeks. Anyone can beat anyone so it’s important that we turn up with the right attitude and make sure we’re pumped up on the day.”
Worcester Warriors have lost their last 19 Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures, only Rotherham have a worse sequence, with 30 successive losses between 2001-2004.
The Warriors have not scored more than one try in a game in the tournament since round two.
Sale Sharks were defeated 10-15 at home to Saracens on Friday but have picked up at least one league point from their last eight encounters.
The Sharks won their most recent away game in the tournament at Newcastle but have not managed to win back-to-back matches on the road since the start of the 2008/09 season.
Sale have won their last five encounters with Worcester in all competitions since the Warriors’ 23-16 victory at Sixways in the Premiership on Boxing Day 2012.
While the Warriors have plenty to concern themselves with on the pitch it has not stopped them helping out the local community off it.
Warriors will give a total of 500 tickets for the match to the emergency services, the armed forces and the environment agency who have all helped victims of the city’s flooding.
And Warriors vice-captain Chris Pennell is delighted the club is supporting the city’s relief efforts.
He said: “It will be great to see everyone at Sixways on Saturday as it has been a tough time for a lot of people.
“We’ll be looking to put in a good performance and thank everyone who has helped the flood victims in recent weeks.
“We’ve been really fortunate at Sixways as the flooding hasn’t come this far. So we’re just trying to help as much as we can and thank everyone for their good work.”
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (78th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell & Andrew Pearce.
TMO: David Grashoff.