Luke Arscott feels that if Exeter Chiefs stick to their game-plan, then they will have nothing to worry about in tonight’s Aviva Premiership trip to rock-bottom Sale Sharks.
The Manchester club, who finished fourth in 2012, are in desperate need of points to avoid the possibility of relegation to the Championship and they have targeted the game as one they must win to avoid that threat becoming a reality.
Therefore, Arscott is expecting a physical battle at the Salford City Stadium and for Brian Redpath’s side to come out fighting, right from the kick-off.
“It is going to be a massive dogfight to start with, I think there will be huge intensity in the first 20-30 minutes,” Arscott said. “We are going to have to come out fighting fire with fire and hopefully we can come out on the right side of the result.
“I think we were our own worst enemies up there last season because Sale came out and showed what quality they have, although they were in a different position to where they are now.
“They are under a bit more pressure this year and that can help us if we can keep mounting the pressure on them and impose our game on them and hopefully we can keep going and score a few tries.”
Exeter’s last visit to Sale saw them trail 20-0 after just 20 minutes – and it could have been so much worse. But Baxter’s side regrouped and staged an incredible comeback to emerge as 30-23 winners on a cold Friday night in November 2011.
Sale are yet to beat the Chiefs in five previous encounters and the 43-6 win at Sandy Park on the opening day of this season was the biggest margin of victory in matches between the two sides.
Despite that record, Sale have not been shy in commenting that they identify tonight’s match as one they can – and need – to win. Such bluster is having little effect on Arscott though.
“To be honest, we don’t take much notice of that. For us, we are concentrated on what we have to do,” he said.
“We are under no illusions. We probably haven’t got the results that we have wanted in the Premiership recently, but hopefully we can go on a bit of a run in the next three or four weeks and really start to look at pushing on up the table.
“We desperately want to be in that top six, if not pushing for the top four.”
Arscott is likely to return to the side for the first time since defeat to Leinster on January 19. He was rested for the LV= Cup clashes against Bath and Northampton, but now refreshed and revitalised, he is itching to get back to action.
“It is nice to have a bit of a break,” he said. “I don’t think the body is used to it, you are used to coming in on a Monday morning and being a bit tight and a bit sore and it takes a bit more out of you on a Monday and a Tuesday.
“It’s good to get back, all the boys that were having time off are desperate to get back involved and put their bodies through the mill again. Everyone is looking forward to it.”