Michael Young says discipline will be a key factor for Newcastle Falcons on Sunday as they travel to Sale Sharks in search of a Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final place.
The scrum-half and his side are unbeaten in the tournament heading into the final round of pool games, and can guarantee they win their group if they score four or more tries and win by nine or more points.
Home advantage in the semi-finals would be added if they can score four or more tries and win by 37 or more points, while a best-placed runner-up spot could also see them through to the semi-finals depending on results elsewhere.
“Aside from everything else in terms of how this game can help prepare us for the Gallagher Premiership, it’s also a chance to make a semi-final,” said Young.
“Everyone wants to play for silverware, we’ve not had some for a little while now and we can’t ignore the opportunity as well as obviously looking to get our game right going back into the league at Bath in a fortnight.”
Conscious of the need to stay on the right end of the whistle, the England Saxons cap said: “Discipline will be key, it’s probably cost us on occasion this season and it’s a massive work-on for us to make sure we’re squeaky clean.
“We’re just past the half-way stage of the season and this is a chance to refresh ourselves, put things right and play the kind of rugby we know we’re capable of.
“Once we get back to that level we know we’ll get the results we’re after, and the boys are all refreshed after getting a bit of time off last week.
“For me it was a mixed blessing because I’ve missed a fair bit of the season through injury, so I wasn’t necessarily craving a break. But for the boys who’ve been involved week in, week out, it will have been really useful for them just to recharge the batteries a little and come back refreshed.
“Personally, I probably didn’t need the break as much as those guys, but you can see in training this week that there’s a real buzz and a zip about the place because of the time away.”
Fully focused on Sunday’s test despite their opponents winning just one of their three games in the Premiership Rugby Cup, Young added: “Sale are a very good team, they’re niggly to play against and they bring a lot of physicality.
“It’s on their home turf, it’s always a tough place to go and it’ll be a big challenge for us.”