It is that time of the week again when 'Orrible Punt sits in the Planet Rugby hot-seat to give his calls. Today, the Aviva Premiership gets assessed.
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Bryan Redpath's appointment was described by Steve Diamond as "absolutely ideal" back in June, however a run of 7 losses by an average score of 13-30 has seen 'Dimes' wield the axe again. It was presumed that John Mitchell , he of the 'one leader, one voice' speech would take over, but it appears Diamond himself is going to balance chief-executive and first team duties, with Redpath now head coach and a snappily named rugby strategy management board put in place.
Sale have conceded at least 20 points every match but are yet to score that many in a game themselves. They have trailed at half-time in 6/7 games by an average of 7 points and been outscored after the break in 5/7 games by average of 10. They face a side that has beaten them in 9 of the previous 11 matches and in 6/9 when in the north. However, the Exiles have only won once away in the last 11 attempts and are averaging 16-25 in those games.
Both were involved in last minute drama in the previous round, but the visitors have the shorter turnaround and were forced to make over 150 energy-sapping tackles on Sunday. The Sharks have won the last 4 home games with Sean Davey as referee, including this fixture last season by a single point. Given their poor form, it's not a game to invest too much in, but I will back a similar outcome and a desperately needed home win by 1-10 points at 3.0 with Sky Bet. These teams concede late tries with the hosts allowing 8/19 tries in the final 20 minutes and the visitors 13/21 scores in the same period. They are also the only sides in the league not to have scored tries themselves in the final quarter. Sale almost managed to break that trend against Worcester last week and with Rob Miller, Dwayne Peel and Tom Brady to come off the bench, they may find joy for the last try against a tiring Irish.