Sale Sharks captain Dan Braid has urged the team to step up to the occasion when they host London Irish in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership crunch match at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Both sides have endured poor starts to the campaign with only two wins each leaving them near the foot of the table separated by only a point.
Braid has called on the side to stand up and be counted and to show everyone how good they really are.
“In terms of a reaction, it’s across the board and it’s about everyone stepping up and showing what we are made off,” Braid told the club’s website.
“We’ve been inconsistent in that we’ve had a couple of very good patches within games but then we’ve let ourselves down.
“Now it’s time to really step up and show a bit of mental toughness within the team.”
Sale’s Director of Rugby Steve Diamond has made seven changes to the side which was beaten by Leicester Tigers last weekend with Danny Cipriani, Will Cliff, Tom Brady, Mark Jennings, Sammy Tuitupou, Vadim Cobilas and Jonathan Mills all returning to the starting line-up.
Last week the Sharks squandered a 10-point lead against Leicester and with defeats at the hands of Gloucester and Munster also from winning positions, Diamond still remains upbeat about the team’s quality.
“We had a meetings with the leaders and the senior players earlier this week and have gone through a couple of episodes this season,” he told the club’s official website.
“And instead of blowing our top and kicking the bins around the changing room, we’ve had to come back and analyse what’s happening.”
With Irish sitting above Sale in the table, they’ll have to leapfrog their opponents if they want to keep their aim of finishing in the top six this season.
But with only five points separating 10th placed Sale and fifth-placed London Wasps, Braid knows a win on Saturday will put them right back in the mix.
“I know that we can achieve more than where we are in the table right now but the good thing is that the table is still quite compressed at the moment,” Braid added.
“A good win at home and we’ll be right back up in the mix.”
Sale Sharks team to face London Irish – Mike Haley, Tom Brady, Mark Jennings, Sammy Tuitupou, Tom Arscott, Danny Cipriani, Will Cliff, Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Marc Jones, Vadim Cobilas, Jonathan Mills, Michael Paterson, Dan Braid, David Seymour, Josh Beaumont.
Main image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.