Someone once said a week was a long time in politics. For Sale Sharks the next month will go a long way to deciding how successful this season will ultimately turn out to be.
Whilst attentions turn to the goings on in rugby’s European capitals the fire and brimstone of the Premiership returns this week, albeit shorn of all its home grown International players.
In essence, this is the time of year the current Sale squad was put together for. While most of the other top six teams have to drastically alter their line-ups, Sale can continue to choose a relatively unchanged first team squad.
For these 2015 Six Nations the club has only lost the services of three players. Alberto De Marchi and Luke McLean have been called up by Italy and of course Danny Cipriani, finally included in the England set up.
I think most Sale fans would agree that De Marchi and McLean have both struggled to adapt to the pace of the Premiership so far and neither would find a place in a fully fit first team.
The loss of Cipriani, of course, is a different story. It is his form this season that has got him his call up, form that has meant most good things about the team going through him. It is never easy to replace influential players. The advantage that Sale have is that it is only one. How successful they are in replacing him and how they change the game plan now he’s gone will go along way to decide how fruitful a period this will be.
It also looks like the rugby Gods have been smiling down on them. Along with a visit to winless London Welsh, Sale face the three teams who have lost the most players to call ups. They play Saracens (7 players to England, 1 to Scotland) at home and face trips to Leicester (6 England, 2 Italy) and Bath (7 England, 1 Wales).
Now, of course, with the size and depth of the squads that these clubs possess none of these games are going to be easy. But with those number of player losses its certainly a leveller and they are marginally easier than if they were being played in April!
If Sale can get anything over double figure points out of those four games then it should set them up nicely for the final push towards that coveted top six finish.
They may never get a better chance to do it…