After last weekend, it's not the newcomers who are looking for a first win. The Sharks, sixth last season, have yet to make an entry in the 'W' column after three difficult opening games, although they did gain a bonus point against Saracens. The Welsh produced a spirited revival to beat Exeter Chiefs by a single point last Sunday.
Former Leeds man Alfie To'oala came on as a replacement flanker and had a massive impact. Welsh skipper Jonathan Mills lost two teeth (one artificial) and his gum shield in an accidental clash of heads with him and has declared that he's willing to lose more if it keeps the Welsh in the top flight!
Mills left the field to receive treatment before returning to help the Exiles secure their first ever Premiership win, a victory achieved thanks to Ed Jackson's late try and Seb Jewell's conversion.
Mills added, "It was quite funny how people had already written us off after our first two games, but we were playing two of the best sides in the league. Exeter are a quality side in their own right, but to be able to get a win at home at the Kassam was an amazing feeling for the boys. We're on the way now and hopefully we can keep moving forward."
On the field
Sale Sharks have never met London Welsh, but competitive meetings between Sale FC and the Exiles started in March 1976, when Sale won a John Player Cup Quarter Final 16-14 at Heywood Road.
The last encounter between the clubs was in January 1979, when Sale won a Courage League Division 2 game at Old Deer Park 16-9. They played five other 'club' matches in the amateur days and had four more cancelled by the weather.
London Welsh opened up Premiership life losing 13-38 at home to Leicester Tigers. They fell 40-3 at Harlequins, then recorded their inaugural 25-24 win against Exeter Chiefs last Sunday.
A comparison between the two clubs, after three rounds, shows that the respective fullbacks have made 'Top Metres' - Rob Miller with 164m and Tom Arscott with 182m. Miller is the Sharks top carrier with 18, but is eclipsed jointly by Neil Briggs and Alfie To'oala, both on 25m.
For 'Top Tackles', Sharks' skipper David Seymour has the edge with 34 tackles, nudging out former Leeds man Gordon Ross on 30. Talking of ex-Carnegie men, Kearnan Myall has won 12 lineouts for Sale Sharks, against nine from Daniel Browne, the leading Welsh jumper.
Team statistics from the three matches show London Welsh 5% ahead of the Sharks at scrum time, but Sale Sharks are up 4% in lineouts, with an 82% success rate so far.
London Welsh hooker Neil Briggs, once a Shark, moved back into English rugby after a year with Bourgoin. He's looking forward to returning to the North West, but anticipates a tough game. He says, "Sale Sharks are in a false position. There are many good, international players at the club."
Sale Sharks see this game as their chance to start the rise up the table and as DoR Bryan Redpath states, "The way up starts right here!"
With reputations on the line, both clubs will be fighting for a win on Friday and you will not want to miss this battle.
To book your tickets, visit the Sale Sharks official ticketing website or call 08444 994 994.
Match Day Entertainment
The fan bar was a huge success at our opening 2012/13 Aviva Premiership home game against Saracens. For our next home game against London Welsh, Sale Sharks are running the following in the new Shark Tank:
- 4 bottles of Heineken for £10 (available in the fan bar pre and post-match and at intervals throughout the game)
- A pint of real ale for £2 (available in the fan bar post-match, so hurry back to bar, before it runs out!)
- A glass of wine for £4 (available in the fan bar pre and post-match)
There will be a DJ playing all the latest music in the fan bar, pre and post-match.
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