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Sale set to struggle again

Another season battling relegation for the Sharks

Posted Oct 19, 2010 by Jeff Dawson

It could be another stunningly difficult Aviva Premiership season for Sale Sharks as they face another relegation battle. Having finished second bottom last year, it is going to be another year where they will have to display their battling qualities if they wish to survive.
The saving grace for Sale may be that there are other teams who are going to struggle this term. Leeds Carnegie, Newcastle and newly promoted - and I say this with a heavy heart - Exeter Chiefs being the main three.
This is all that I can see saving Sale from the drop. To date, they have beaten Newcastle and Harlequins but then lost to Saracens, Bath and Wasps. It is this inconsistency that will prove their downfall.
Luckily they score nearly as many points as they concede whereas those that currently sit below them don’t, another massive plus point in their favour.
And in the coming weeks they have to travel to two of the teams around them whilst then meeting clubs in the higher echelons of the division.
First up is a trip to Leeds Carnegie followed by a visit to table-toppers London Irish, followed by Northampton’s visit to Edgeley Park, before finally travelling to Exeter at the end of November.
If they can take maximum points from the games against their fellow strugglers then they will be in no danger of going down, but should Exeter or Leeds take the points then it could be a completely different story for Sale.
And with both Charlie Hodgson and Nick Macleod kicking supremely well, and winger Mark Cueto frequently crossing for tries, this could be another string their bow.
So taking this into consideration, I believe they will finish 10th this season, two places clear of relegation.

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