‘We will deserve top four slot’: Sale Sharks captain Dan Braid sets sights on climbing Premiership standings

Sale Sharks skipper Dan Braid has set his sights on a top four finish as his side look to mount a late season attack on the Aviva Premiership’s elite.

The former All Black is confident that Sale’s league position can improve to loftier heights despite a challenging run of fixtures on the horizon.

Sharks considerable improvement has been one of the real shocks of the season and having played 16 games the team have set themselves a platform to launch an attack on the top four.

“I hope we can finish in the top four. We have reassessed where we are at the moment and we want to have a real crack at the big sides we are coming up against,” said Braid.

“If we can beat a few of them we will deserve to be in the top four and it’s in our hands, which is great.

“The morale of the squad is really good because of how well we have performed this year and we are aware of the challenge that we still have ahead of us with the big teams.”

After a fortnight’s layoff, Sharks are set to face off against league leaders Northampton Saints at the AJ Bell Stadium in a game that Braid believes the home side can win.

“I believe that we can win the game if we play well, we definitely have the ability on our day to beat anyone in the competition but Northampton are a very good side and we will have to be right on top of our game, get a bit of luck, and get into them physically,” said the 33-year-old.

“It is going to have to be a huge defensive performance as they are one of the best teams in the competition and their ability to attack and the individuals they have got they can really put you to the sword.”

The announcement made this week revealed that the top six will now qualify for an all new European competition replacing the Heineken Cup next season.

Sale are currently commanding the last of the European places but are only looking above them as they seek to climb up the league table.

“If the new European competition means sixth place will get us into the tournament it gives us even more motivation to finish in the top six,” added Braid.

“We are sitting in sixth now with a bit of a buffer over Wasps but we have some tough fixtures coming up. If we want to be able to compete with the top sides we need to knock over one of the top four teams.”

Braid, who has not experienced European rugby before, has been a leader this season for Sharks and has put in countless commanding performances for the Sale outfit.

“European Rugby will be a great test for the players in general as they all want to play at the highest level and play in the top competitions,” added the flanker.

“I am not really surprised at how well we are doing… we have worked really hard and after last season the expectations weren’t that high.

“We have a really great core group of guys and we have turned up with the right attitude for every game that we have played and that has gone a long way in helping us this season. But there is still a long way to go.”

Main image courtesy of Sale Sharks, via YouTube.

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