Sale Sharks vs Bristol

This match promises to be a cracker when top of the table Bristol take on third place Sale Sharks. Sale is on a seven game unbeaten run in the league while the Bears will want to consolidate their top position. The Sharks are finally back to full strength with both the Curry brothers back from injury. Bristol showed in their last match against Gloucester that they are the best attacking team in the league as they scored six tries and had a further four disallowed for infringements. The Sharks know that for them to win this match they will need to dominate Bristol up front. They are well capable of this as they have the Curry brothers and the Du Preez twins that are monstrous in the pack. Bristol has the best attacking backline in the league with stars like Semi Radradra and Charles Piutau. These players can attack from anywhere but are particularly dangerous with turnover ball. The Sharks are a more structured unit with Springbok Faf De Klerk pulling the strings from number nine. Bristol will need to keep a keen eye on him as he loves sniping around the rucks and mauls. The Bears for all their attacking skills showed that their forwards are not the best while this is an area of strength for the Sharks. The match could well come down to the attack of the Bears against the defence of the Sharks. The Sharks to have any chance of causing an upset will need to fix their discipline as they receive the most yellow cards in the competition. They will need to stick to their game plan of forward dominated play and not be sucked into an open game which the Bears thrive in.

TIP: The Sharks have eleven South Africans in their squad and it’s no surprise they adopt the forward dominated style of play. Their big men always give them that go forward ball and they also have dangerous wings in Marland Yarde and Byron McGuigan who are excellent finishes. The man that has been stealing the limelight in recent weeks is their hooker Akker van der Merwe who is in tremendous try scoring form. He is scoring from open play and of course he is the driver at the back of the rolling mauls. De Klerk will have a key role to play as he needs to be accurate with his kicking otherwise the Bristol dangerman will have a field day. The bookies have the Bears as slight favourites but I’m backing the Sharks to cause the upset here. The best odds on the Sharks victory are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 2.40, Playabets 2.35 and Sunbet 2.12

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

Sale Sharks vs Bristol

  • The last five matches between these sides have seen two wins apiece with one drawn match.
  • In four home matches against the Bears the Sharks have only lost once.
  • The last two matches between the sides has seen the Sharks emerge victorious.

Latest results for both teams

The Sharks won their last match against Bath 24-20 while Bristol beat Gloucester 39-7 in their last match.

PREDICTION

Both teams will be desperate for the win as the Bears will want to starve of the fast finishing Exeter Chiefs who are hot on their heels in second place while the Sharks want to secure third spot ahead of Harlequins. The desperation of both teams should see this being a close contest. This is where I think the Sharks will hold the edge. In these tight matches the better forward pack will wear down the opponents. The Sharks bench is a lot stronger than the Bears and this could prove the difference in the end. The Sharks are almost unstoppable when they get their rolling mauls working effectively and this is their area of advantage. If the Sharks can keep the Bristol pack on the back foot then I predict a tight victory for the home team by 4 points.

  • Probable Starting XVs

Sale Sharks

15 Luke James, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 Josh Beaumont (captain), 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Bevan Rodd

Bristol

15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Max Malins, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Yann Thomas

Odds for this bet

The best odds on the Sharks upset victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting 2.40

Playabets 2.35

Sunbet 2.12

Odds comparison on the Sharks handicap:

The complete odds on the Sharks handicap:

Worldsportsbetting (+3.5) 1.90

Sunbet (+1.5) 1.92

Playabets (+2.5) 1.85

Predictions and Odds in details

The Sharks are supremely confident and have shown great team spirit in their recent matches. They have been down to 13 men in their last two games due to poor discipline but they have shown that resolve to still come away with the win. They will need to be more disciplined against the log leaders as a yellow card will be ruthlessly exposed by the Bears. The Bears thrive on fast ruck ball to unleash their star studded backline but the Du Preez and Curry brothers will need to slow their ball down or create turnovers at the ruck to frustrate them. The battle between the halfbacks will be mouth-watering as the attack minded Bristol pair of Callum Sheedy and Andy Uren faces off against the wily, experienced international pair of AJ MacGinty and Faf de Klerk. The experience of the Sharks pair will see them have the better of this battle. For those punters not too brave on going for the Sharks on the outright victory then the handicap bet is quite appealing. The best odds on the Sharks handicap are: Worldsportsbetting (+3.5) 1.90, Sunbet (+1.5) 1.92 and Playabets (+2.5) 1.85

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