Andrew not expecting cup favours

Newcastle boss Rob Andrew has kissed goodbye to the Powergen Cup for this year because he does not expect any favours from northern rivals Sale in the final round of group action. [more]

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Newcastle boss Rob Andrew has kissed goodbye to the Powergen Cup for this year because he does not expect any favours from northern rivals Sale in the final round of group action.

The Falcons, who travel to Leeds on Friday, are still in the hunt for a semi-final berth but they need Sale to beat Llanelli.

But on top of a 13-strong injury list, Sale have lost six players to the flu and boss Philippe Saint-Andre is resting the likes of Mark Cueto and Charlie Hodgson after their autumn Test exploits with England.

"I will be very surprised if the Scarlets don’t turn them over because it’s a massive home game for them with the chance of a semi-final place, and unfortunately for us we missed our opportunity with the narrow defeat we had down there," said Andrew.

"If Llanelli win, we’re out of the Powergen Cup, simple as that, so it really doesn’t worry me from that point of view.

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"I’m not bothered about what happens at Stradey Park because we missed our chance to beat them down there, and with the squad Sale have picked you would have to say they will most probably go down there and lose."

Andrew has named an unchanged pack for the first time this campaign while an ankle injury to Tom May and Mathew Tait’s England Sevens call-up means James Hoyle and Joe Shaw come onto the wings.

Leeds have finally enjoyed some success over the last two weeks, with league victories over Northampton and Bath, but with qualification from the pool impossible boss Phil Davies has decided to rest his key players.

"We have got the opportunity to give some our senior players the chance to recover from a few niggling injuries this week so the likes of Andre Snyman, Scott Morgan and Justin Marshall miss out this week," said Davies.

"But it will give people a chance to have a look into the future of the club. The average age of our backline is 21 and they are all exciting players."

On Saturday, Group A front-runners Bath and Gloucester meet for a place in the Millennium Stadium semi-finals.

And there is a winner-takes-all clash at Welford Road too, where Leicester take on midlands rivals Northampton.

On Sunday, Group D leaders Wasps can clinch their place in Cardiff when they host Saracens.

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