Naiyaravoro eager to help Saints sink the Sharks

Taqele Naiyaravoro was too strong for Newcastle last Saturday (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Taqele Naiyaravoro was too strong for Newcastle last Saturday (picture: Sharon Lucey)

Taqele Naiyaravoro is ready to help Saints win the physical battle against Sale Sharks on Saturday.

The giant wing was part of the black, green and gold team that was toppled by the Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium on November 24.

On that day, Sale belied their position at the bottom of the table to secure a scrappy 18-13 win at the AJ Bell Stadium.

And since then they have gone from strength to strength, remaining unbeaten in their past five Gallagher Premiership games to rise to fifth in the standings.

"It was my first time playing there and I'd heard a lot of stories about it," Naiyaravoro said, reflecting on the defeat at Sale in November.

"To be fair, they played better than us physically on their home turf and it's a big lesson for us ahead of them coming here.

"We'll be trying to match them up."

Saints go into this weekend's encounter at Franklin's Gardens on a high, having beaten Newcastle Falcons 59-33 to secure a Premiership Rugby Cup final place last weekend.

It did take them a while to get going as they went 21-0 and 28-7 down before battling back to bag a big win that sets up a showpiece against Saracens at the Gardens on March 17.

And Saints know they can't afford a slow start against the Sharks this weekend.

"We've been taking the learnings out of last week," Naiyaravoro said.

"The first 20 minutes wasn't what we were really planning for and the main goal this week is to be up physically because we got dominated when we played Sale a few months ago.

"We need to make sure we get up and shut them off physically.

"Another big thing is trying to get our game on from the first whistle, not wait another 20 minutes."