Alex: “We’re dangerous enough to have a real go at The Run-In.” 

Alex Sanderson says his team know the importance of this weekend’s trip to Bath, as they prepare to enter the ‘business end’ of a rollercoaster Gallagher Premiership season. 

With six games remaining, his side lie in seventh place but, speaking in his pre-match media briefing, the Sharks DoR said there’s still plenty to play for. 

“I don’t think we need to emphasise how important it is for us to hit the ground running this weekend, he said. “I’m hoping most people think we’re out of it. Let them believe that. 

“All the teams are playing each other. We want to win all six remaining games but realistically we probably need to win four out of the six. 

“It’s the business end of the season and it’s really tight behind Northampton, who were the only ones who really managed to keep some consistency over the Christmas period.  

“We’ve had a good chance to really re-assess, rebuild, refresh and we’ve got nine players back from injury to add to those lads who got opportunities. We’re as strong physically as we were at the start of the season. Now it’s all up top – it’s about getting our attitude right and getting emotional consistency.  

“We’re dangerous enough to have a real go at it.” 

With the Six Nations having reached its conclusion last Sunday, Your Sharks welcome back some big names this weekend. One of those available for the trip to Bath is George Ford, who nailed down the number ten shirt during the tournament and, according to Alex, ‘spearheaded’ a new approach for the Red Rose. 

“As a team they shifted a lot of their time in the week to focus their energy on wanting to attack and bring variety and get the ball in George’s hands a bit more and pick the best option,” he said. “From what I understand, George was a big part of that. 

“They shifted their focus to getting back and being ready to strike. It seemed to re-energise the team and George spearheaded that. At the start of the 6N it was touch and go who would play 10 but over the 6N he got a run at the helm and he was able to influence the team in the way we see here. 

“He found his kicking boots too, and I was made up for him, and for us that he found his form.” 

Alex also paid tribute to Manu Tuilagi after it was revealed this week that the centre would leave the club at the end of the season. 

“It’s still a wrench in my heart, even though I know it’s the right decision for the club, for Manu and for his family,” he said. “We’ve got a massive void to fill in terms of the emotional consistency he provides to everyone by way of how composed he is and the energy he brings. 

“That, I would say, is the biggest challenge for us now, aside from his ball carrying and ability to bang.  

“There is always a turnover of players and the lads want to send their mates off with fond memories. How you finish is massive and I’m sure Manu will want to make sure he makes some of his best memories over the next three months.” 

Watch the press conference in full here. 

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