Dan Braid’s quality and experience will prove vital in Sale Sharks’ relegation fight, Danny Cipriani has claimed, ahead of tonight’s crucial clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Braid signed for Sale on a short-term deal in January, proving his worth with a series of stellar performances, including a man-of-the-match display against Scarlets.
And with experienced heads crucial to any Aviva Premiership relegation battle, Cipriani applauded the former All Black flanker’s impact in the Sale line-up.
“Having Dan Braid come in has helped things – he gives us experience and he’s a great communicator,” said Cipriani.
“He’s a world-class player and we’ve all really tried to buy into what we can do as a team, and that’s helped him in that way.
“Obviously, he’s a very good player, but it’s his brain and his knowledge and his understanding of the game.
“It’s little coaching points he makes to the team, certain players in the back row and to myself – things like that have helped small parts of our game that have really helped and sharpened us up.”
The Sharks will be watched by their biggest crowd of the season at Salford City Stadium, in the wake of confidence-boosting back-to-back LV=Cup wins.
Sale secured passage to a mouth-watering semi-final tie against Saracens in their last outing, with their first away victory of the season against London Wasps.
But with Sale still five points adrift at the foot of the table, the focus is firmly on Aviva Premiership survival, and Cipriani insisted consistency is key.
“We’ve been finding some consistency – we’ve been doing it since Christmas, and there’s some games that we’ve lost closely where we’ve let things slip,” he said.
“But we’re starting to get a structure in how we play, which perhaps we should have done in pre-season but, for whatever reason, that didn’t go to plan and we’re playing catch up now.
“We’re doing that adequately at the minute, but we need to carry it on into the Premiership this weekend.
“This weekend we understand it’s a huge game, but we can’t go away from we’ve been doing.”
Line-up: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 1 Ross Harrison, 2 Tommy Taylor, 3 Henry Thomas, 4 Tom Holmes, 5 Kearnan Myall, 6 Dan Braid, 7 David Seymour (captain), 8 James Gaskell
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Richie Vernon, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Will Addison