Sale Sharks make their second trip to London of the new Aviva Premiership season tonight and are determined to banish the memories of their Saracens loss with a win at The Stoop.
With two victories at the AJ Bell under their belts, the Sharks will be hoping to replicate their fine home form when they face Harlequins, a side bolstered by returning England internationals.
Danny Cipriani is confident his side are prepared for the challenge, despite the five day turn-around following their clash with Northampton on Sunday.
“It’s about mentally making sure you’re on it and turning up on the night,” he said.
The flyhalf described how the team’s training had to be altered with such limited preparation time.
“We still trained pretty hard, making sure we got some running in to our legs to get the lactic acid out from the weekend, whilst also continuing to learn, and getting some good shape.”
Chris Cusiter has been left out of tonight’s squad after taking a knock to the head against Saints and Cipriani will instead be paired with summer signing Peter Stringer, something that has excited the Englishman.
“I haven’t played so much with Strings, but training with him I enjoy the speed he gets to the breakdown and how he marshals the forwards.”
A notable change to Sale’s starting line up is the return of Sam Tuitupou to the centre but, rather than last week’s try-scorer Sam James, it is veteran Johnny Leota who will start the match on the replacements bench.
Last week Steve Diamond praised the players graduating from the Sharks Academy side for the impact they have been making in the senior team and stressed that he was confident that his best side would be starting on Friday night.
“Apart from Chris, we are going down with a full strength side, we have to go down aiming to get something from the game,” he said.
“Quins are very good at home but if we play at our best then we will get something.”
Diamond said that his team will need to replicate the kind of performance that saw them beat Northampton at home for the third consecutive year, in order to tackle the Quins.
“We need to take our recent home form down to Quins on Friday,” he said.
“It will be a tough game, they have started the season very well and the Stoop is a hard place to go.
“It’s our second time in London this season and last time we were down there we lost to Saracens, so we need to get that game out of our minds and play like we did on Sunday against Northampton.”
Sale Sharks: 15. Mike Haley, 14. Tom Arscott, 13. Sam James, 12. Sam Tuitupou, 11. Nev Edwards, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Peter Stringer, 1. Ross Harrison, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Vadim Cobilas, 4. Jonathan Mills, 5. Bryn Evans, 6. Dan Braid (capt.), 7. TJ Ioane, 8. Josh Beaumont.
Replacements: 16. Neil Briggs, 17. James Flynn, 18. Brian Mujati, 19. Andrei Ostrikov, 20. Magnus Lund, 21. James Mitchell, 22. Nick Macleod, 23. Johnny Leota
Image courtesy of BT Sport via YouTube, with thanks.