James Mitchell says Sale Sharks will be in the zone when they head to Twickenham Stoop on Friday after sealing their spot in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s final.
It almost didn’t happen for the Sharks during Saturday’s Group D clashes at Kingston Park but in the end Mitchell skippered his side safely through to the final.
The Sharks started the day on the back foot against Worcester Warriors but a last-gasp Mark Jennings try saved a draw for Sale – and what a vital draw it turned out to be.
Defeat to Newcastle Falcons meant Mitchell’s chances of leading his side out at the Stoop were fading fast but victory over Leicester Tigers meant they secured progress on points difference.
And now he says his team are in full sevens mode and are relishing the prospect of taking on the best in the business in London.
“Obviously the boys are buzzing to have gone through in the end,” said Mitchell.
“It was a bit touch and go there for a while and we weren’t sure we were going to make it, but to do so and have the opportunity to get through and play at the Stoop in front of a packed crowd is going to be something to remember.
“We’re ecstatic with that, and I think the last game was the best for us. We were a bit slow to get going, and to be honest we were probably playing XVs rugby most of the first game against Worcester.
“But we got into it towards the end, and we’ll do some more training in the week ahead of next Friday and go from there.
“Sevens is so tough, especially as we’ve been training in preseason with XVs and you have players committing to the breakdown, and then coming into 7s you can’t really have that.
“So it was tough to begin with, but got ourselves into it and by the third game we were really in 7s mode.”
Sale will have to be on top form if they are to make it beyond the quarter final stage with a match against last year’s finalists Newport Gwent Dragons first up.
But Mitchell says his side are ready to meet any test head on and is looking forward to playing some expansive rugby.
“There’ll be better skills on show and all of that stuff, but it’s hard to say who will be the side to beat,” he added.
“Wasps had a strong side out, so they will be strong, but it’s 7s and at the end of the day anything can happen in this format.
“Gloucester too of course are defending champions and will be tough to beat, while Newport Gwent Dragons looked good in their round and bring something different every year.”