Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Cueto set for record

Mark Cueto, left, needs one Premiership try to break the all-time career record of 75
Mark Cueto, left, needs one Premiership try to break the all-time career record of 75

Mark Cueto could set a new Aviva Premiership record on Sunday when rock-bottom Sale Sharks visit Saracens, but the former England wing is concentrating more on top-flight survival than individual glory.

Cueto needs one Premiership try to break the all-time career record of 75 held by his ex-Sharks colleague Steve Hanley, whose figure he equalled during last week's crucial victory over Worcester. The four points gained in that game narrowed the gap between Sale and 11th-placed London Irish, giving Cueto and company renewed hope of avoiding relegation.

"I had never felt like I'd felt before that game," he said. "It sounds dramatic, but you are playing for your job. If we had lost, you would have to be honest and say you couldn't see a way back. In the back of my mind, I felt that if we lost we would get relegated. You cannot explain how massive it was."

He added: "Things like that (records) are always nice, but at the minute I would take a win over beating the record or equalling the record. There are so many aspects of the game that are far more important to me than scoring tries.

"I know that is my job, and if I am in the right position I will score tries, but it's more about the team and doing the right thing for the team - making your tackles, working hard, catching the right balls."

New signing Daniel Braid features on the Sale bench at Vicarage Road as Sharks look to build on the Worcester victory, while England fly-half Owen Farrell returns in the Saracens number 10 shirt after being on bench duty against Northampton last weekend.

Premiership leaders Harlequins, meanwhile, show six changes for the trip to Oxford's Kassam Stadium where London Welsh await, with starts for full-back Ollie Lindsay-Hague, centres George Lowe and Jordan Turner-Hall, wing Sam Smith, lock Charlie Matthews and flanker Tom Guest.

Three changes in the London Welsh side are all up-front, as prop Paulica Ion starts after recovering from a knee injury, flanker Michael Hills replaces Mike Denbee and number eight Adam Balding is preferred to Alfie To'oala.

And fifth-placed Wasps welcome back three key players for their Adams Park appointment with Bath on Sunday. Wing Christian Wade returns to the starting XV, along with fly-half Stephen Jones and flanker James Haskell, with Eliot Daly moving to outside centre after outings on the wing and at full-back in Wasps' last two games.

Bath boss Gary Gold has made three changes following last weekend's draw against Exeter. Stuart Hooper and Dominic Day team up in the second-row and full-back Nick Abendanon takes over from Ollie Devoto.

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