Sale Sharks v Gloucester, Aviva Premiership, October 8
Sale look to double Scots for inspiration
October 5, 2011
Gloucester came through a physical confrontation with London Irish last weekend © Getty Images
Fourth faces fifth as Sale Sharks tackle Gloucester on Saturday at Edgeley Park.
After losing to newly promoted Worcester on the opening day of the season, Sale have recorded wins over London Irish, Wasps and Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership. Against table-toppers Harlequins last weekend, the Sharks racked up 41 points but had to make do with a losing bonus point.
Gloucester also conceded a hat-full of tries against high-scoring Quins, but responded to their 42-6 drubbing three weeks ago with victory over their West Country rivals Bath as well as London Irish. Their 33-30 win over Irish prolonged their 22-match unbeaten run at Kingsholm. But the Cherry and Whites will have to find some form on the road.
Sale Sharks - Player to Watch: Dwayne Peel has been enjoying some of the best form of his life and he will look to continue to show Warren Gatland et al just what they are missing out on come Saturday.
Sale Sharks - Team News: Sale have named an unchanged side from the one which came close to upsetting Harlequins. But there are three noteable inclusions on the bench with World Cup returnees Alasdair Dickinson and Richie Vernon lining up alongside Joe Ward.
Gloucester - Player to Watch: Darren Dawidiuk has performed admirably in the front-row while Scott Lawson has been on Scottish duty. And with the hooker now back from World Cup duty, Dawidiuk will want to keep hold of his shirt so expect a commanding performance come Saturday.
Gloucester - Team News: Bryan Redpath names an unchanged XV from the one which overcame London Irish last weekend. The only alteration to the matchday 23 sees Matt Cox named among the replacements. Alex Brown is still sidelined with a shoulder injury while Lesley Vainikolo has been given another week to prove his fitness.
Key Battle: Jonny May has impressed for Gloucester in the inside centre berth but faces a huge challenge from Sale's Sam Tuitupou. With Tuitupou still adjusting to Sale life, there should be fireworks in the midfield.
Trivia: The last 17 encounters between the two clubs in all competitions have all been won by the team with home field advantage: the last time that either club triumphed on the other's home turf was when Gloucester won 44-21 at Heywood Road on September 22 2001.
Stats: Gloucester Rugby's last nine matches have all been won by the home side on the day.
"We're delighted to welcome Alasdair and Richie back from the World Cup. It's a reflection of the good things happening here at our club that they're so keen to return to the fold. We're looking forward to seeing them playing in a Sharks' shirt."
"A lot of credit must go to Sale. Steve (Diamond) coached me as a player and I know how passionate he is about the club. He's brought in a lot of new players and had to mould them into a team and he's certainly done that. I've got a lot of time for him because his core values are old fashioned and he believes so strongly in what Sale are all about. We must respect that. If anyone ignores that, they're in for a shock on Saturday."
Prediction: Sale impressed against Harlequins despite losing at the Stoop and look primed to bounce back against Gloucester with a commanding win.
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