Sale Sharks are looking to end November with three straight league wins as they travel to Newcastle Falcons after impressive victories against London Irish and away at Harlequins.
A win on Tyneside in round nine would move Sale closer to director of rugby Steve Diamond’s Christmas points target and strengthen their claim for a top six place.
Jonathan Mills is one player who echoes his coach’s bullish approach and the lock forward believes anything other than a win on Sunday will cancel out the triumph of previous weeks.
He said: “Two wins out of two in this block of league games ain’t bad at all and if we can get another win up at Newcastle before we go back into Europe we’ll see where we are at in terms of the league and top six.
“We’ve set the standard for ourselves now in beating Irish and Quins but those two results will mean very little if we don’t go to Newcastle and give a good showing.
“We’ve got to match those standards week in, week out. As a squad, we put pressure on ourselves and if we go away to Newcastle and don’t win, we’ll be disappointed in ourselves.”
Mills thinks that inconsistency has damaged the team’s results but says that they might be settling down in the Winter months and coming together as a squad.
“So far this season, we’ve been on an upward spiral then a downward one. We know that we are far from the finished article and that we still have things to work on but, I think we are now finding where we’re at.
“We’re comfortable with our game again now. The conditions are starting to play into our hands I think and this is where we really kicked on as a team last year.”
The former London Welsh captain feels that also the squad may not have as many star names as other Premiership rivals they make up for it with grit and hard work.
“There are not many superstars in the pack but we are all working for each other but we’re comfortable with each other and know where we’re at.
“The guys in the front row – ‘The Fridge’ (Eifion Lewis-Roberts), Vad (Vadim Cobilas) and Jonesy (Marc Jones) are all real grafters and there’s a good mix with guys who can do a bit of running and boys who provide a bit of grunt.
“The focus is solely on Newcastle and winning at Quins will mean nothing if we don’t win up at Kingston Park on Sunday.”
Winning at Newcastle will be no mean feat, as they themselves are on a fine run of form winning three of the last four games in the Premiership.
Falcons scrum-half Mike Blair says that his team are not underestimating the Salford side, identifying Danny Cipriani and Dan Braid as danger men ahead of this weekend’s clash.
He said: “Sale have gone well, they’ve had two really good wins on the trot, they have some confident operators who have played the game at a very high level like Cipriani and Braid.
“They will come here knowing we are a side who are playing some reasonable rugby and who are defending in a gutsy and skilful manner so hopefully we’ll make it hard for them to break us down.”
Main image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.