It's war at Welford Road as Leicester battle Sale

It's war at Welford Road as Leicester battle Sale

A hurting Leicester outfit will be looking to jump back into winning ways this weekend when they take on a well-drilled Sale outfit. 

  


Leicester plunged to an embarrassing 51-18 defeat against Saracens at the StoneX Stadium:

 

 


Sale managed to brush aside the Exeter Chiefs at the AJ Bell. Final score: 28-20:

  


 

In the wake of the Exeter victory, Sale’s Director of Rugby, Alex Sanderson said: “I have a growing sense of belief in these lads to get through games like these. 

 

“I’m proud of the physicality and getting the monkey off the back after losing four [in a row] against them. 

 

“We got into our kicking game and stuck to our guns with that. We started to play in the right areas which we didn’t do for the first 30 minutes. 

 

“You have got to play in the right areas against these boys because they will farm penalties around the halfway line and then they’re into your 22 and they’re pretty lethal. 

 

“It was about winning the territory battle and we did that better in the second half.” 

 

Sanderson added: “To cement this team’s identity and culture and what we’re about this season, it’s really important to get those wins early, something that we didn’t do last year. 

 

“It’s rewarding and encouraging.” 

 

Of last week’s loss, Tigers’ boss Steve Borthwick said: 

 

“It’s a regular process of looking at areas to develop and improve and if we don’t win it’s the same process,” said Borthwick. 

 

“Every Monday we debrief the game and go forward to what we need to do, today was no different. We win games and it’s no different. 

 

“It wasn’t good enough last weekend, nobody has said anything otherwise and now we have looked at what we must do better this week. That is always the way.” 

 

Looking ahead to this weekend’s encounter, Borthwick continued: 

 

“They are an excellent team; they have a pretty settled squad, they’ve recruited very well and they’re a group which has not been largely affected by summer tours. 

 

“There is that cohesion within their ranks. It’s a settled group of players. 

 

“And, ultimately they were a very good team. They have been in the top half of the competition for many seasons now and would have been disappointed last year not to be semi-finalists. 

 

“It is a big challenge this week, which we will have to be at our best for across the whole 80 minutes on Saturday afternoon.” 

 

 

Match Insights:

 

Leicester Tigers 

  • The Champions have had a rude awakening in the opening stages of the season. In attack, they’ve struggled to create opportunities, making the fewest offloads per 80 minutes in the Premiership so far (five).
  • Leicester Tigers have kicked the leather off the ball in the opening four rounds. They have averaged 38 kicks in play per 80 minutes for 1,477.25 metres in the same interval. Over the regular length of a match, this is over 500 more metres than Northampton Saints have kicked – the team who have kicked the second-most metres.
  • Tigers blindside Olly Cracknell crossed the gainline more than any other player in round four, battering through the defensive line ten times.
  • Both Freddie Burns and Jimmy Gopperth have attempted ambitious attacking kicks, each making three chips so far, the highest total in the league.

Sale Sharks 

  • The Sharks are happy to play the long game and keep the scoreboard ticking over with penalty goals. Per 80 minutes, they have scored more of these than any other side (2.33).
  • Statistically speaking, Sale Sharks play the narrowest style of rugby in the Premiership, making a league-low average of just 93 passes per 80 minutes.
  • The Sharks have the highest percentage tackle dominance in the league, making big collisions in the contact with 10% of their defensive efforts.
  • Of the five players who have made the most dominant tackle contacts, four herald from Sale Sharks: Ben Curry (seven), Jean-Luc Du Preez (six), Akker van der Merwe (five), and Dan du Preez (five). From last weekend, England prodigy Tom Curry was the top tackler, making 21.

Historical 

  • The Sharks have been a bogey team for the Tigers in recent seasons, with the latter only winning one of the last seven fixtures between these sides.
  • Leicester Tigers may have had a troubled start to the season, but in their last nine Premiership games, they have won seven.
  • Sale Sharks on the other hand have been assured in the opening rounds of the Gallagher Premiership, winning all their games so far this season. They are now on a six-match winning streak in the league.

Sale Sharks

Leicester Tigers

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