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Sharks geared up for Quins clash

Sale's push for the Aviva Premiership title play-offs will continue on Friday night, with centre Sam Tuitupou claiming: "We are going to treat it like a semi-final."

Victory for the Sharks at home to Harlequins would put them level on points with fourth-placed Bath and leave Quins' play-off hopes - they currently lie sixth - hanging by a thread.

Sale have lost just one of their last seven Premiership matches, and Tuitupou said: "I think it is a must-win game against Harlequins to give us a chance of making the top four.

"It is a big game, and we are going to treat it like a semi-final. We hope to push on, as every win is important.

"At the start of the season our goal was top six, and anything above that is a bonus.

"At the moment we are in a good position to get top four, and we will just take each game as it comes and concentrate on winning our next game.

"We just need to keep doing what we are doing and keep in line and keep the pressure on, and that will give us every opportunity to win the game."

Sale and Quins both return to domestic action after experiencing contrasting fortunes during last week's Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

The Sharks were beaten at home by Northampton, but Quins claimed an impressive win against Stade Francais in Paris, and the Londoners' rugby director Conor O'Shea retains his entire starting XV that was on duty at Stade Jean Bouin.

"It would have been good to win the quarter-final and be in the hunt for both trophies, but we are looking to push for the top four and we just have to take it as it is now and concentrate on the top four," Tuitupou added.

"I don't think the cup loss will have slowed momentum. The squad is full of confidence, the atmosphere is still here and the team is still buzzing."

Quins have not posted a Premiership away win since they triumphed at Newcastle on December 1, although their record against Sale shows six successive victories stretching back to the 2010-11 season.

And if Quins can keep that sequence going on Friday, then they are set to leapfrog Sale into fifth spot.

"The chat here is that every game is a cup final because we know we have to win every Premiership game left if we want to get into the play-offs," Quins lock Charlie Matthews said.

"We can take a lot of momentum from that (Stade Francais) game into the rest of the season.

"I think we got our Quins style back on the pitch in the way we played. It was as well as we have played for quite a while.

"We can take a lot of confidence from that and the way that we played, and hopefully moving forward we can repeat that for our remaining games, which are all must-wins."


From Belfast Telegraph