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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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|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle Falcons|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs Sale Sharks|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|13:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com