Updated: Sunday, 18th February 2018 @ 5:46am

Steve Diamond: Sale need very best at AJ Bell fortress to overturn Northampton

Steve Diamond: Sale need very best at AJ Bell fortress to overturn Northampton

| By Eve Langford

Sale Sharks will be hoping that their fortress, the AJ Bell Stadium, helps them maintain their home advantage when they face Northampton Saints on Sunday.

Northampton’s resounding victory over Newcastle Falcons last week and the return of several international players will make them a force to be reckoned with.

Steve Diamond has said that his side will need to maintain the momentum gained from last week’s victory over Worcester to beat last year’s table-toppers

"We just have to stick with what we did well last week – we've got to get our set piece right, our defence right, and hopefully our attack can look after itself,” he said.

“They're a quality side who are well coached by Jim Mallinder & Dorian West and they have a lot of internationals who have returned to the side and boosted the squad.

“Saints have lost up here the last couple of times and no doubt they'll be wanting to perform here, so we've got to be at our very best to get a result."

There is just one change to the Sharks’ starting XV which secured the bonus point over Worcester Warriors last weekend.

TJ Ioane will start the game having impressed coming off the bench against Worcester Warriors, with Magnus Lund joins the replacements.

With four years at Franklin’s Gardens under his belt, Brian Mujati is relishing the opportunity to face off against his old teammates.

"It's a game I looked out for on the fixture list when I first arrived," he said.

"They are a tough team and we will need to be at our best on Sunday but I am looking forward to meeting up with some of my former team-mates after the game.”

Mujati described the Heineken Cup quarter-final win against Perpignan as the highlight of his 110 appearances for the Northampton side.

"I am enjoying life at Sharks, everyone has been so welcoming and the lads tell me that they like playing at the AJ Bell Stadium and are keen to maintain it as a fortress.

"The Premiership has always has been a tough league and after returning from two seasons in France it's good to see that the intensity levels in every game is still there."

Image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.