Sale under ‘no illusions’ that Castres will be easy European Challenge Cup ride – Mills

Sale Sharks will make their first trip across the channel this season to face French side Castres Olympique at the Stade Pierre-Antoine on Saturday.

Following a loss at Newport and a bonus point win against Pau, Sale now sit joint second with Castres in the table and will hope to use this match to overtake their hosts in the standings.

Lock Jonathan Mills knows this is a crucial clash for the Sharks.

“We’re under no illusions it’ll be a tough match out there and if we want to do anything we’ll have to pick up an away win in one of the two games we’ve got left against the French sides so fingers crossed we have a good performance this weekend,” he told MM.

“Castres are a good outfit, I think two or three years ago they won the Top 14 so they’re no mugs and like most French sides they’re very good at home.”

Mills added that despite the setback in Newport, the team were bolstered by the bonus point win with Pau.

“Getting that bonus point in the home game was great so we’ll hopefully go out to Castres with a lot of enthusiasm and give it a good crack out there.”

The Welshman was looking forward to the challenges of facing a top level French side.

“It’s nice sometimes just to play a different kind of rugby. It’s completely different to what we play in the Premiership.

“It’s refereed differently, and it’s nice to make some different trips too to what we’re compared to year in year out.

“It’ll be good to go out against Castres, there’s less pressure on us than in the Premiership but we want to have a good performance and try to develop our game a bit more.”

Castres will make the trip to the AJ Bell next weekend which is a difficult situation to be in said Mills, although clearly Sale are taking it seriously with a strong side being selected for the journey.

“If you show your hand too much then they know what’s coming the second time round,” said Mills.

“So the way around that is to make a few changes but they’re a good team and we’ve just got to look after ourselves.

“If we go out there and do what we do well then we’ve got a good chance of coming away with what we want from the game.”

Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond was also looking forward to the opportunity to take on Castres, a side Sale beat twice when they last faced them in the Champions Cup.

“I don’t think there’s anything better than going to Castres on a Saturday night,” he said.

“It will be a difficult contest out there in France, they are lying sixth in the Top 14, so we’ve got to go out and be competitive.

“There’s a good opportunity for some lads, but we’re putting a strong team out. It’s a stiff competition to play in but you’ve got to win the home games.”

Sale Sharks: 15. Tom Arscott, 14. Nev Edwards, 13. Will Addison, 12. Mark Jennings, 11. Charlie Ingall, 10. Joe Ford, 9. James Mitchell, 1. Eifion Lewis Roberts, 2. Neil Briggs, 3. Brian Mujati, 4. Jonathan Mills, 5. Andrei Ostrikov, 6. Magnus Lund, 7. David Seymour (capt.), 8. Mark Easter

Replacements: 16. Tommy Taylor, 17. James Flynn, 18. Ciaran Parker, 19. Josh Beaumont, 20. Cameron Neild, 21. Tim Jeffers, 22. Sam James, 23. Mike Haley

Image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.

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