LV= Cup: Steve Diamond gutted as Sale Sharks bow out
Steve Diamond could not hide his disappointment after Sale Sharks suffered a last-gasp defeat to Ospreys.
Last Updated: 31/01/14 11:15pm
The Aviva Premiership club needed a bonus point win to make the last four and looked like getting it when they led 36-30 with a minute on the clock.
But wing Aisea Natoga's try and outside-half Sam Davies's touchline conversion put paid to Sale's ambitions as Ospreys claimed a thrilling 37-36 win.
Diamond, whose side had led 28-13 at the interval, bemoaned some of the decisions made by referee Craig Evans and admitted the loss was a big disappointment, but he also praised Ospreys for their second-half fightback.
"I think we probably thought we had the match put to bed at half-time," said Diamond. "But fair play to the Ospreys they came out second half and ran everything and probably deserved to win in the end.
"It doesn't help that the referee gives us two yellow cards (Ross Harrison and Marc Jones) in the last 10 minutes and they are collapsing mauls all over the show and we don't get any reward for it.
"The last four was there for us. It's very disappointing and we will be licking our wounds on the way back to Manchester.
Not all doom and gloom
"But it's the first game we have lost in eight weeks so it's not all doom and gloom.
"I was impressed with the way we got four tries in the first half and then got a fifth, but then we went off the boil defensively."
The Ospreys were happy with the win but acting backs coach Dan Griffiths was critical of the overall display.
"We were delighted with the result but not with some elements of the performance. That is the standards we want to set for these young men," he said.
"Our attack can put any side to the sword and when we did get in the right areas we were able to come back from 36-20 down.
"We never questioned the effort and the character and we were delighted with the response after half- time."