Cusiter hopes Cipriani ‘effect’ will get Sale Sharks over the line in Premiership race

Sale Sharks travel to London Irish this weekend and with just four rounds left to play they know every point is vital in their late season charge.

The Sharks sit in seventh place with a European spot firmly in their sights, but with just eight points separating them from fourth a challenge for the play-offs still remains a possibility.

Scrum-half Chris Cusiter puts Sale’s good performance this campaign down to the form of Danny Cipriani.

“It’s great to play alongside him: he can control a game,” he told MM.

“He has that ability to create something out of nothing or to take advantage of little weaknesses in defence and that is probably what sets Danny apart.

“I think he helps the forwards, because it maybe takes the focus off them a bit. The pack have been playing really well and that obviously helps us get some good ball.

“We generally perform well when our driving maul is strong and then off the back of that there’s a real threat at the back with Danny controlling that back line.”

The former Glasgow Warriors man has made 15 Aviva Premiership starts, scoring three tries, since his move south of the border last summer.

The Scottish international says Cipriani’s lack of minutes for England at the Six Nations came as a surprise.

He said: “We were all disappointed he didn’t get more game time (for England), I think we all thought he’d play more.

“He’s had a good season and it’s been good to play with him. You’d always have Danny in the team for his natural ability.”

The Salford club have won just once on the road in the league since November and the 32-year-old concedes that away results need to improve.

He added: “There have been a few performances where we’ve been off the mark, a bit inconsistent, so we have two away games to prove we can play as well away from home as we can do at home.”

Sale are looking to complete the double over tenth-placed Exiles for the first time since the 05/06 season after their 36-8 in the reverse fixture.

The starting XV remains the same from the victory over Gloucester, but Marc Jones returns in the replacements.

Team: 15. Mike Haley, 14. Tom Arscott, 13. Johnny Leota, 12. Sam Tuitupou, 11. Mark Cueto, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Chris Cusiter, 1. Ross Harrison, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Vadim Cobilas, 4. Andrei Ostrikov, 5, Nathan Hines, 6. Dan Braid (capt.), 7. David Seymour, 8. Josh Beaumont

Replacements: 16. Marc Jones, 17. Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18. Ciaran Parker, 19. Jonathan Mills, 20. Magnus Lund, 21. Will Cliff, 22. Joe Ford, 23. Tom Brady.

Main image courtesy of Scottish Rugby via YouTube, with thanks.

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