Sharks skipper eyes semifinals

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 12:56
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NEWS: Sale Sharks newly-appointed captain Josh Beaumont believes his team are to mount an assault on Premiership Rugby’s top four.

Steve Diamond’s side boasted an unrivalled home record last season, going unbeaten at the AJ Bell Stadium until their final home match of the campaign against Gloucester Rugby.

But having also drawn two of their home encounters and lost out with the last kick on more than one occasion, there is plenty of room for improvement for captain Beaumont – who had to watch on from the sidelines at the end of the last term with a dislocated shoulder.

And the England prospect insists there is no way Sale will be resting on their laurels in the coming months, with a Premiership semi-final spot very much within their capabilities.

"When we set our goals at the start of last season, we were very much aiming for a top-six spot and Champions Cup rugby qualification, and we got that," he said.

"But it definitely felt like we left a lot of points out there – there’s at least ten Aviva Premiership points we could have got from games, and if we’d had those we’d have been in the top four.

"So that was a huge frustration for us, but at the same time it gives us something more to aim at for this year. Top four is very much the aim.

"Our home form is notoriously strong, so if we keep that and really work on our away form there is no reason we can’t do it.

"It’s massively important we get ourselves into the top four early on. If you just look at the two finalists last year, Saracens and Exeter Chiefs, they were one and two for the majority of the season.

"That just shows how important the start is. You never want to be playing catch-up, so looking at the first month for us is working out how to get the amount of points to get us in that top four,"

Despite seeing the likes of Danny Cipriani and Tommy Taylor exit the club in the summer, Diamond has recruited well in Wales legend Mike Phillips, Premiership Rugby veteran Rob Webber, and Pro12 winning fly-half AJ MacGinty.

And Beaumont is confident the blend of youth and experience will serve the Sharks well heading into this season.

"It happens at clubs, you lose guys sometimes. But the players that have come in have looked really good so far and mixed really well.

"The likes of Rob Webber and Mike Phillips bring so much experience to the group as well, having been capped a huge amount of times between them, which can only help.

"Then at the other end of the scale, you have younger guys like AJ MacGinty. He is a very different player [to Danny Cipriani] but a hugely exciting one.

"It is only his second year in professional rugby really, and to see what he did in his first with Connacht you have to wonder how far this guy can go.

"He’s looked really good in preseason; he’s a great leader as a No.10, and his goal-kicking is right up there as well so hopefully it all falls into place for us,"

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Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
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Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 20 15 0 5 75
Saracens 20 14 0 6 67
Wasps 20 12 1 7 61
Newcastle Falcons 20 13 0 7 59
Leicester Tigers 20 2 0 8 57
Gloucester 20 11 1 8 56
Sale Sharks 20 10 0 10 54
Bath 20 9 0 11 46
Harlequins 20 7 0 13 36
Northampton Saints 20 7 0 13 36
Worcester Warriors 20 6 0 14 31
London Irish 20 3 0 17 22