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Aviva Premiership: Sale claim crucial victory over Wasps in race to reach Europe
We had a good start before we had a rocky patch, conceding 17 points, but we then became dominant in the scrums to win the match.
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Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond admitted the Sharks had come a long way in the space of a year after victory over Wasps pushed them a step closer to European qualification.
A 21-17 triumph at Adams Park cements Sale in sixth place in the Aviva Premiership, extending their lead over their opponents to eight points.
Dan Braid and Jonny Leota both crossed for tries while fly-half Danny Cipriani added one of his conversion attempts and also kicked three penalties for the visitors.
"I'm delighted with the result. This time last season we were looking at being in the Championship," said Diamond.
"We had a good start before we had a rocky patch, conceding 17 points, but we then became dominant in the scrums to win the match."
With half an hour to go, Diamond opted to change his entire front row - a decision which turned the game in his team's favour.
"It was always our intention from the start to do this, as I believed our forward bench was stronger than theirs," Diamond said of the decision.
Wasps conceded an early 10 points after Joe Simpson was yellow carded for a high tackle on Nick Macleod, who left the field with concussion. Diamond was content with the referee's assessment of the incident, adding: "It was innocent more than anything and I think the officials got it about right."
The hosts rallied to take a 17-10 lead at one point with a try from Simpson and four penalties from Joe Carlisle before falling away badly.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young admitted Sale were "smarter" than his side.
"Sale deserved to win; they were a lot smarter than us," he said. "We gave away an easy 10 points at the start, which seems to be our Achilles heel.
"We then had a lot of pressure and came away with only four penalties, but we need to be coming away with seven points not three from those situations. We are missing our X-factor players in Christian Wade, Tom Varndell and Elliot Daly.
"Sale changed their entire front row and it made a huge difference. We struggled to cope and gave away three silly penalties. They were far superior at the kicking game."
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com