Sport

Andy Powell insists Sale Sharks ‘have to believe’ LV Cup victory is possible and to help survival bid

By James Scott

Sale Sharks’ Andy Powell is determined to help galvinize his side’s campaign with victory over Harlequins in the LV Cup final at Sixways Stadium. 

Sale travel to Worcester for their first final appearance since 2006 to face reigning Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins – victorious in their last six meetings with the Sharks. 

With Sale’s status as a Premiership side in danger, 31-year-old Powell believes an Anglo-Welsh cup triumph would boost their survival hopes.

“This final down on Sunday down in Sixways is massive for us and if we can win that it puts us in really good stead for next week,” he said. 

“It’s really important to everybody involved in Sale, and if we can get a bit of silverware and win this tough game against Quins and stay up, it won’t turn out to be a bad season.

“If we get the win it’s going to put us in a lot of confidence going into Bath, but it’s a tough one and we have to make sure we win.

“There’s no point in talking if we’re going to go down there and give up – we have to believe that we can go down there and win, that’s the main thing.”

Sale and Harlequins have endured drastically different seasons, with Quins fighting for top spot, and the Sharks off the bottom by virtue of London Welsh’s points deduction. 

Although Harlequins have won their last five final appearances, Welsh forward Powell insists Sale will not be over-awed by their formidable opponents. 

“They’re a great side but I think maybe two or three months ago when we were playing them we were worried about the opposition and not worrying enough about our game.

“Last week we concentrated on how we’re going to play instead of how Quins are – there’s a little bit to take in there but more importantly it’s about how we play and come out as a team and attack them.”

The LV Cup has served as a tonic to Sale’s league woes, with wins over Scarlets, Wasps at Adams Park and a double over Premiership leaders Saracens. 

Sale number eight Powell was man-of-the-match in their semi-final triumph over Sarries, but the Welshman was quick to highlight the team’s performance. 

“I got man of the match but it was down to the front five last week for giving me a platform to pick up,” said the former Lions forward. 

“Everybody’s determination was great, putting their bodies on the line and wanting to play for everybody in the team – if we can do that again this week then I think we’ve got a good chance of winning.

“Saracens were so disciplined and so organised so to stop them from getting a try was a brilliant effort from everybody.

“I think we’ll take that confidence in this week and have the belief to go and win it.”

Powell starts at the base of the scrum for Sale, with the competition’s top-try scorer Danny Cipriani retaining his place at fly-half. 

While Harlequins are without Mike Brown, Joe Marler, Danny Care and captain Chris Robshaw, who will be representing England in the Six Nations. 

Line-up: Nick Macleod; Tom Brady, Will Addison, Jonny Leota, Charlie Ingall; Danny Cipriani, Nathan Fowles; Alasdair Dickinson, Marc Jones, Tony Buckley, Fraser McKenzie, Tom Holmes, James Gaskell, David Seymour Captain, Andy Powell

Replacements: Tommy Taylor, Ross Harrison, Henry Thomas, Andrei Ostrikov, Daniel Braid, Dwayne Peel, Sammy Tuitipou, Mark Cueto

Image courtesy of Sale Sharks, via YouTube, with thanks

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