Sale wing Tom Brady believes the Aviva Premiership fixture list has been kind to the Sharks this time around as they look to start the campaign as they finished the last – with a bang.
Brady and co endured a frustrating campaign last time around – with a poor start to the season seeing them not record a Premiership win until November and led to a relegation battle in the second-half of the season.
Despite improved form from January onwards that saw Sale finish the campaign in tenth, they would have been facing a far stiffer challenge to avoid the drop had London Welsh not been handed a points deduction for fielding an ineligible player.
But a new season at the Salford City Stadium has brought new optimism and with Thursday’s Aviva Premiership fixtures throwing up three home games in their first five outings against Newcastle, Wasps and Bath, Brady is confident of making a positive start this time around.
“We are feeling good, out of our first five games, three are at home,” said Brady.
“We have put last season behind us and everyone is really confident for a good season. If you look at the table in the second half of the season, I think we finished fourth.
“We will take that back-season form and the confidence that we have and we will start strong. Everyone is getting fit and as soon as the season comes around we are going to get stuck in.”
Before the Aviva Premiership action returns there is the small matter of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s with Sale travelling to Northampton to face off against Saints, Leicester and Newcastle on August 2 in the group stages.
The top two will then progress to the final of the series in Bath on August 9.
At 22, and with a good pre-season behind him, Brady is hopeful of getting a run out as Sale target some early season silverware.
“The groups have been held at Edgeley Park for the last two years and we really did well at home on both occasions,” he added.
“Hopefully I will be selected as well – I quite enjoy the 7s. It was my way in a few years ago and hopefully some of the younger lads can break through as well.
“It gives the youngsters who haven’t played any first team rugby a chance to make an impression. It gets you ready for rugby as well – there’s only so much pre-season training camps can do.
“There’s never a weak side for Leicester, but on paper they never put their strongest team out. I would like to be involved, but it is obviously in the hands of the coach – it depends on what they are aiming for.
“It would be disappointing to miss out, but you don’t always get the nod – you just hope you’re involved next time.”
The second leg of J.P Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s will be at Franklin’s Gardens, the home of Northampton Saints, on Friday 2 August.
For tickets and more information visit: www.jpmorgan7s.com or follow @jpmorganrugby7s