Sale the in-form outsiders to keep tabs on in Aviva Premiership

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Upon the conclusion of the fourth round of Aviva Premiership fixtures at the end of September, if the Sale Sharks were offered at 100/1 to win this season’s Grand Final, bets would have been in short supply on such an eventuality.

Fast forward two months and a run to the Grand Final suddenly doesn’t look quite as distant.

Sale have won four of their last five outings, which has seen them climb to sixth in the league standings and just a point outside of a top-four spot that would ensure their participation in the end-of-season play-offs.

Their only slip up in their much-improved run was also far from a surprise, coming away at table-topping Northampton Saints.

Although they have Magnus Lund in the back row making countless tackles and Kiwi centre Johnny Leota capable of the clean breaks useful to mounting attacks, it is in the inventiveness department where the Sharks’ biggest weapon sits.

Danny Cipriani is the most creative player in the league and his partnership in the half-backs with Scotland’s Chris Cusiter presents a running threat that matches up with any other in the Premiership.

What Sale also have on their side is a valuable ability to score tries late in games. Of their 27 league tries thus far, 12 have arrived in the final 20 minutes of matches. This is more than any other team in the division in this time period.

Taking the 50/1 now on Sale winning the Grand Final may additionally prove prudent based on their fixtures in the next two rounds of Premiership action.

Sale are at home on both occasions, firstly against second-placed Exeter Chiefs and then against Leicester Tigers, who are currently just one point and one position above them.

Wins in these two games will only strengthen the claim of the Sharks for a top-four finish and with a squad that doesn’t include many internationals, there is every possibility that any momentum gained will not be slowed too much entering the second half of the season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.