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Sharks ready for Brive battle

Sale Sharks head coach Tony Hanks insisted his front-line troops are rested and ready to tackle Brive for a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Sale need to beat the former European champions at Edgeley Park on Thursday and deny them a losing bonus point to qualify from Pool Five. Hanks has made 13 changes from last weekend's 61-10 victory at La Vila, including recalls for scrum-half Dwayne Peel, number eight Andy Powell and outside centre Johnny Leota.

Hanks said: "Effectively we start the game 7-0 down but this team wants to play in the quarter-final. This is like a playoff game for us. The team are really looking forward to it. The squad got the job done at La Vila. We were able to leave some guys behind who needed a bit of a break."

He added: "They've enjoyed training this week and are full of enthusiasm. There's a good feeling in the camp about the opportunity we've got ahead of us.

"We know it's going to be a difficult assignment. We have a lot of respect for Brive."

Sale, two-time winners of the challenge cup, suffered their only defeat in the pool away at Brive in the opening round of the pool stages.

But Brive centre Arnaud Mignardi insisted there is no danger of his side underestimating the challenge that lies ahead if they are to reach the quarter-finals for a second successive year.

"We know we need to be careful in the match," he said.

"Sale are a big side, they have got better and better since that first game and are playing well in the Premiership.

"Obviously our goal is qualification. We know we need at least a (losing) bonus point but we are going there for the win. If we qualify, it will be three more games before the title. Everything can happen."


From Belfast Telegraph