Sale Sharks and Bath set for Heineken Cup qualification face-off

 

Sale Sharks and Bath will continue their quest for the one remaining prize available to them this season when they clash at Edgeley Park tomorrow night.

Both clubs are currently in the Aviva Premiership's mid-table zone after winning just 16 of 38 league games between them this season.

But a top-six finish - and prized Heineken Cup qualification next term - can still be achieved.

Sale are currently seventh, two points behind sixth-placed Gloucester and two in front of Bath, with tomorrow's west country opponents currently occupying eighth spot.

Defeat for Bath in Stockport - their first fixture since it was announced that rugby director Sir Ian McGeechan and forwards coach Martin Haag will not be at the club beyond this season - would effectively end hopes of a top-half finish.

After Sale, Bath host struggling Wasps and then visit Leicester, while the Sharks head to Gloucester on Saturday week before hosting Premiership leaders Harlequins.

Sale were beaten narrowly by relegation favourities Newcastle last time out, with Bath suffering a 26-6 home defeat against title play-off contenders Northampton.

"We were competitive at Newcastle, but we didn't manage the game for the full 80 minutes," Sale chief executive Steve Diamond said.

"We have hopefully rectified that in training.

"Our side has trained well this week, and we are looking forward to the final Friday night Premiership fixture at Edgeley Park. We aim to continue to progress and produce a good, hard-working performance."

Sale will embark on a ground-share with rugby league club Salford City Reds next season, and for their penultimate home game in Stockport the Sharks show three changes.

Andrei Ostrikov starts in the second-row alongside Kearnan Myall, while hooker Joe Ward also features and James Gaskell switches from lock to flanker, packing down alongside back-row colleagues David Seymour and Andy Powell.

Flanker Carl Fearns will face his former club, meanwhile, with Matt Banahan and Olly Barkley teaming up in Bath's midfield, and young fly-half prospect Tom Heathcote also starting.

Victory for Sale would see them overhaul Gloucester, but it is likely to be shortlived, given that the Cherry and Whites host Newcastle on Saturday, when Wasps visit Quins, Northampton tackle Leicester, Saracens travel to London Irish and Worcester entertain Exeter.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot