Sport

Sale Sharks need unity and focus to secure first Premiership win, claims director of rugby Bryan Redpath

By Ed Owen

Sale Sharks director of rugby Bryan Redpath has called for unity as they look to kickstart their league campaign against Worcester Warriors tonight. 

The Sharks head to Sixways determined to register their first Aviva Premiership victory after a successful start to the Heineken Cup campaign.

But with former coach John Mitchell – heavily rumoured with a return to Sale – watching Redpath’s side, the Scot wants his players to focus on getting the first win.

“We need to be together because the only thing that matters now is playing and winning,” said the former Gloucester man.

“We can’t go into our shells and think ‘I’m going to hide and protect my reputation’ – it’s now about being as united as we can be, and everyone buying into it.

“If there is anything to be said among each other or among coaches, or among who is coming in or not coming in, we can’t not worry about what he or she is doing.

“We have to have that mentality going into Worcester on Friday night.”

Redpath accepts the squad has dipped below the standards set last season, and with that, the players and coaching staff are left open to criticism.

The Scot understands that criticism will also be public, due to media scrutiny, but he insists his players must concentrate on their own jobs.

He said: “We go out to win the game, not to hope that Worcester lose the game, you can’t have that mentality.

“Many people make mistakes in their lives that aren’t discussed in public – they’re discussed in the office by the boss, whereas my office, or some players offices, are potentially between 12-16,000 people who don’t have an interest whether you stay in the post or not.

“What we’ve got to get right is that the criticism has been there, and we have to concentrate on our stuff – we can’t worry.”

Sharks head to Sixways eight points behind eleventh-placed London Irish, knowing they will remain rooted to the bottom of the table regardless of the weekend’s results.

However, Redpath is confident that Sale’s heads will not drop, and they will be up to the challenge.

“They’ll be looking for a big performance after two high scoring wins in the Amlin Challenge Cup and we had a great result against Cardiff, followed by a tough match at Montpellier,” he said.

“We’ve got make sure that we’re focused on the game, not on the table.

“Our emphasis is to be very disciplined and be clear about our game plan.

“Away matches like this are tough, and Friday evening will be a massive challenge for us.”

The starting fifteen tonight shows nine changes from the side that played at Montpellier on Sunday afternoon, with England under-20 international prop Ross Harrison making his first start for the Sharks.

Sale Sharks: 15.Nick Macleod, 14.Tom Brady, 13.Johnny Leota, 12.Sam Tuitupou, 11.Mark Cueto, 10.Danny Cipriani, 9.Cillian Willis, 1.Ross Harrison, 2.Tommy Taylor, 3.Tony Buckley, 4.Richie Gray, 5.Fraser McKenzie, 6.Richie Vernon, 7.David Seymour (capt.), 8.Andy Powell

Replacements: 16.Joe Ward, 17.Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18.Vadim Cobilas, 19.Kearnan Myall, 20.James Gaskell, 21.Nathan Fowles, 22.Rob Miller, 23.Will Addison

Picture credit: Sale Sharks

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