Sale Sharks welcome back captain Dan Braid from an ankle injury sustained in the opening game of the season at Bath for tomorrow’s LV=Cup tie against Wasps.
Sharks have never won the Anglo-Welsh competition despite making two finals and this year’s campaign gives them the chance to blood some youngsters as well as give recovering players valuable match time.
Former All Blacks flanker Braid spoke about the need to turn good attacking displays into results especially with the Premiership starting to heat up.
He said: “Bits of our game have been going well but there perhaps hasn’t been a full performance. Hopefully now that I’m fit again I can try to help us fix some of those things.
“It’s been a testing start. Having 11 points on the board in the Premiership after six games is probably not what we wanted but we’re still in the mix.
“It is very tight in the mid-table section as the standard of rugby is very good so it’s exciting to be back with some very important games coming up.
“The progress is there and with a couple of tweaks here and there I’m sure we’ll beat some teams.”
Sale beat Wasps 25-14 less than a month ago in the league and will be desperate for a confidence-boosting win after suffering two defeats in Europe.
The Sharks have named a youthful team with Joe Ford starting at fly-half for the first time as Danny Cipriani is rested.
Director of rugby for Wasps, Dai Young, has also named a relatively inexperienced side as he looks for a strong performance away from home.
He said: “This weekend is a great opportunity for some of the guys who haven’t played as much as they would have liked to cause me a bit of headache in terms of selection going forward.
“There are also a number of exciting young players in the side who will also be looking to prove a point, that they can mix it at this level.
“Sale is always a tough place to go, and we found that out in the Aviva Premiership a few weeks back, that will be no different this weekend.”
The LV=Cup sees teams divided into pools of four, with each team playing four games against a side in an opposite pool, earning points in their own group.
Sale face Leicester, Newcastle and Scarlets after Wasps and must better the results of three other teams in pool two to qualify for the semi-final.
Main image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.