Sale Sharks forward James Gaskell believes the side’s 21-15 surprise victory over Saracens in the LV= Cup semi-final is the spark they needed to reignite their season.
Gaskell’s team bounced back from a heavy 48-10 Aviva Premiership defeat to Leicester Tigers to stun Sarries with tries from Nathan Fowles and Tom Holmes.
Added to 11 points from the boots of fly-half Danny Cipriani and London Welsh’s league points deduction, Sale find themselves with a cup final to come and Premiership survival looking ever likelier.
Gaskell is aware Sale will have to improve if they are to stop Harlequins becoming the first reigning Premiership champions to collect the LV= Cup since London Wasps in 2006.
But the 22-year-old flanker is not betting against the Sharks throwing off the underdog tag to win silverware this season.
“There were a lot of good things and a lot of bad things from us, but on the whole it was a massive win and it is a chance to really kick-off towards the end of the season,” said the Sale Sharks academy product following the defeat of Saracens.
“We need to get as much confidence as possible going into these last five Premiership games.
“People will look at the Saracens team and say they didn’t have their full strength side out but that team would beat a lot of Premiership teams on their day and we had to fight for a lot of things.
“The boys had to stand up and it happened for us.
“We have always said that we wanted to be off the bottom of the table by this stage in the season.
“Whatever has happened with London Welsh has happened and we need to keep fighting because we know we need to win three of our last five to guarantee us staying up.”
Should Harlequins carry on their recent finals day form and claim victory in the LV= Cup they will have won six straight finals on the trot going back to 2001 – as well as all six games this season.
Sale don’t have the same record, having lost in round one 28-34 to London Irish but Gaskell insists the pressure is off his side.
“Each game is as important as the rest so we take each game one by one, starting with Bath at home but we’ve got a chance now to have a week and enjoy ourselves,” he said.
“”We’re in a final which doesn’t happen very often so it’s a chance to make sure everyone enjoys it.”
The LV= Cup Final, 3pm, Sunday 17 March, Sixways Stadium, Worcester. Tickets are on sale now from £20 each at Ticketmaster.co.uk or by calling 0844 844 0444. (Tickets will be on sale for 24 hours a day.)
Image courtesy of Premier Rugby, via YouTube, with thanks