Heineken Cup round-up: Cipriani earns chance to inspire Sale

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The Independent Online

Danny Cipriani has earned himself a place in Sale Sharks' starting line-up to face Montpellier in Poolm Six of the Heineken Cup today with his starring role off the bench six days ago in the thrilling 34-33 victory over Cardiff Blues last Sunday.

It is hardly suprising, given that fly-half Cipriani was instrumental in a victory that ended a run of six successive losses.

"We've been on the wrong end of recent results," Bryan Redpath, Sale's rugby director, said. "I said to the players at half-time [against the Blues] that we were staring down the barrel of a gun. We had to go out with the right mindset to win the game.

"It's been a tough six weeks. We've taken a lot of flak, quite rightly so in many ways, but hopefully we can turn the corner. The next two games are huge for us."

There is a pretty big challenge facing the Blues, too. They have to try to bounce back from the disappointment of surrendering a 15-point lead in that match and it will not be easy as they take on the pool favourites Toulon at the Arms Park, Jonny Wilkinson and all.

The Toulon line-up also includes former Blues prop Gethin Jenkins, while their replacements' bench features Andrew Sheridan, Carl Hayman and Simon Shaw.

"It's been a big change in terms of the lifestyle and culture, and the rugby is completely different," said Jenkins, as he looked forward to his Cardiff return. "I've enjoyed it, although I haven't played as many games as I would have liked, but I am getting used to the surroundings.

"I am raring to go now, and with the autumn internationals with Wales coming up I am really looking forward to it.

"With some of those great players you learn something off them every day and, for me, it's just a case of getting more games under my belt and getting used to the style of rugby out in France."

In today's other Heineken Cup game, Munster and Edinburgh meet in Pool One at Thomond Park, while Wasps make wholesale changes to field a completely new look line-up for the continuation of their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign withn an away match against the Italian minnows Mogliano.