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Sale Sharks – Newcastle

Alex Tarus Sale Sharks

After 5 rounds in the Gallagher English Premiership Sale Sharks and Newcastle Falcons are at the bottom of the table, so the meeting at AJ Bell Stadium will be a very important one for both sides.

Sale Sharks was expecting yet another safe finish around the 8th place coming into this season, but the first five rounds have been tough on them. Sale had a difficult schedule and is currently dead last in the table with 1 win and 4 defeats. The Sharks also own the worst point differential at -61, so they definitely need to get something out of this clash with the Falcons. Last time out Sale lost 15-19 at Leicester Tigers and actually put on a pretty good display in that match.

Newcastle is second to last in the standings right now. The visitors also have 1 win and 4 losses, but played a couple more close games and as such earned two more bonus points than Sale. The Falcons seem to be up the up in the last 2-3 rounds, as they played a number of highly competitive matches, including a narrow 22-23 home loss to the strong Wasps last weekend.

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Team news & lineups:

Sale will get back a couple of key guys like O’Connor and MacGinty, but Denny Solomona`s absence will be a huge blow. The Falcons will make only one change to last week`s lineup.

Sale Sharks: 15 Sam James, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Luke James, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jono Ross (c), 5 James Phillips, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Michael Young, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Gary Graham, 5 Tevita Cavubati, 4 Calum Green, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Adam Brocklebank

Sale`s record coming into this clash is humbling, but the team is much better than that record shows. There are a few reasons for Sale being dead last in the table, the first one being the very difficult schedule – Sale had to play 3 of the Top 4 teams in the Premiership in these first 5 rounds. There`s also the fact that the Sharks, a traditionally strong home team, had 3 road games and only 2 home games.

The Sharks actually played well last round in Leicester, as they scored two more tries than the Tigers (!!), but still lost 15-19 because they failed to convert even a single one of them (if they had MacGinty they might have won). Instead they gave away some silly penalties, and the Tigers did not miss from the tee.

Newcastle can also attribute its pure record to a difficult schedule, as they also played 3 of the Top 4 teams in the standings, but unlike Sale they did have three home games.

The main thing to take into account here is that Sale Sharks has always been a home team, and the discrepancy between their home and away results has been really telling in the last few seasons. If we take the last 4 years into account, their WORST home record was 6-0-5, while their BEST road record was 3-0-8!

It usually takes a strong, in form team to steal a win at AJ Bell stadium and that doesn`t seem to be Newcastle`s case right now. The odds for a home win are very competitive due to Sale`s current (misleading) record, so that makes this an interesting opportunity.

With the Sharks showing some good rugby last week, and with them meeting a team of similar quality (Newcastle might be a bit better, but only by a little), home court advantage should be enough for Sale to secure a much needed victory here. My tip will be Sale to win. Prediction: Sale Sharks – Newcastle Falcons 24 – 16.

Pick: Sale Sharks
Odds: 1.73 @ Ladbrokes
Stake: 7
Possible profit: 5.11
Event date: 6 October

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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