A lex Sanderson recognizes that Sale is underdogs today against Racing 92 but believes the Sharks’ character will counteract any “lightning bolts.”
Sale beat Gallagher Premiership competitors Bristol by two legs. They will now reach the Heineken Champions Cup quarterfinals. There, they’ll be competing for a ticket to Racing today.
Racing reached the finals of Europe’s elite club competition three times in the past six seasons. They boast a star-studded lineup that includes several France nationals as well as Finn Russell, a fly-half from Scotland.
The Top 14 clubs have struggled in knockout rounds before but Sanderson insists Sale can thrive under pressure. He has even tipped them to do the same in Paris.
“Character. Fortunately for me, the team has in abundance,” Sale’s rugby director said. It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate who we really are as a team in character.
” They’ve displayed their greatest qualities and performed some of the best rugby in hostile environments where they were the underdogs. The same thing happens again.
” I don’t believe Racing is the kind of team that will crumble at this stage. They’ll do the same thing in the 80th as you did in the first.
” It’s all about your resilience and determination. Can you handle the lightning bolts that they throw at this team? It could go against the flow of play, or completely out of the blue.
” How will you react? This is the main challenge facing us. Our ability to fight back, regardless of what the opposition throws at us, will be crucial. “
Sanderson acknowledged that tactical adjustments and curve balls are required at this stage in order to defeat their competitors.
” “There will be parts of our game that require you to take calculated risks and roll the dice, or you can become too predictable,” Sanderson stated.
Sale has its own stars, including South Africa’s 2019 World Cup winning scrum-half Faf de Klerk and Manu Tuilagi from England.
The bulldozing center was absent from Sale’s victory over Newcastle on Friday, but Sanderson said that the World Cup finalist had been protected for the next fixture.
“He is well trained,” he said. Manu is an English-Samoan thoroughbred. Manu made the decision to conserve his horse last week in order to not cause injury, and keep him healthy.
“He is better than he was if he had played last week. “