Sami Mavinga says Sunday’s Premiership Rugby Cup trip to Sale Sharks represents the ideal chance for Newcastle Falcons to get back to winning ways.
The French prop and his side can guarantee a semi-final place with a bonus-point victory by nine or more points, while the opportunity to qualify as a best-placed runner-up is also available depending on the outcome of the Worcester Warriors v Wasps game.
Newcastle go into the match having enjoyed a free weekend following their Heineken Champions Cup skirmish with Toulon, Mavinga saying: “It was good to have a few days off after a long period of games, to get full of energy and come back in ready for this next block of action.
“It’s a cup game on Sunday, but we haven’t won for a little while now and this is a great opportunity.
“We are serious about winning this competition, it’s a chance to get our game back in a good way and it will be a useful test for us.”
The Falcons are unbeaten in the Premiership Rugby Cup after drawing with Exeter and beating Bath and Harlequins, although Mavinga knows his side will have to be on their game for Sunday’s 3pm kick-off at the AJ Bell Stadium.
“It’s never easy to go over and win at Sale,” said the former Lyon loose-head.
“They’re a good team with good players, we’ve worked very hard during the week to put in place a plan which can win us the game but we know it will be a big battle. Sale have a big pack, everything starts in the forwards and this game will be no different.”
Determined to get back to winning ways, Mavinga added: “It has been a difficult run of results for us over the last couple of months despite us being close in a number of those defeats, but a win on Sunday can help us turn things around.
“It hasn’t been easy to go so long without a win but the confidence here is fine, and everyone is really focused on getting us back into a good direction.”