Home team Away Team

Sale Sharks

  • Cueto, Jones, Brady,
    Conversions: Cipriani (2),
19 - 6

Northampton


  • Penalty goals: Hooley (2),
  • Aviva Premiership
  • 22nd Mar 2014
  • KO 14:00
  • Ground: The AJ Bell Stadium
  • Att: 6,500

Aviva Premiership: Steve Diamond plays down top four ambitions

Last updated: 22nd March 2014   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Aviva Premiership: Steve Diamond plays down top four ambitions

Steve Diamond: Keeping a lid on expectations

Do I think top four is achievable? I'm not being coy but we see how it is every week and try to challenge the lads to get up for it. The one thing we have got, and what helped us last year, is togetherness.

Steve Diamond
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Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond refused to set any lofty ambitions for his team after victory over league leaders Northampton.

Saturday's 19-6 victory means that a top-four finish in the Aviva Premiership is still an achievable goal, but Diamond believes that Sale have to be realistic.

He said: "Does the win give us more ambition? No, not really. This time last year we were scrapping it out for our lives and this year we're just glad to be in mid-table.

"Do I think top four is achievable? I'm not being coy but we see how it is every week and try to challenge the lads to get up for it. The one thing we have got, and what helped us last year, is togetherness.

"We went through it last year and we had to scrap it out and it's served us well, and in tight games like today you need that resolve."

Diamond also hailed his team's resolve after the Sharks kept Saints scoreless throughout the match.

He said: "In the first half we played reasonably well against the wind and in the second half we didn't get out of our own half.

"(We had) the resolve in defence to counter that and get away with the win so we're delighted really.

"We've had a rest which is a good thing. Their internationals were tired and they chose to pick them and that's their choice and we know that we were the fitter team. "

Poor performance

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder refused to blame tiredness for the result.

Mallinder said: "It was a poor performance. In the first half we never really got off the coach. Sale scored some good tries and took their opportunities.

"In the second half we improved but we were always up against it because we knew we had to score tries.

"We looked like a side who didn't have any cohesiveness out there because we haven't all played together for eight weeks.

"I don't think it is fitness because our lads are fit. We just couldn't string anything together and it was more teamwork today. We need time to gel a little bit and we need to spend more time together. The positive for us is that we will get better.

"It's difficult to get on that front foot and we never did. Our forwards worked hard but credit to Sale because they defended for their lives.

"We've got some important games coming up now. We've lost this game but we're not out.. We've got five games and we're still up in a very strong position and it's down to us. We've just got to put that behind us."

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Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 27th March
Aviva Premiership
19:45Northampton vs Wasps
Saturday 28th March
15:00London Irish vs Newcastle Falcons
15:00Leicester Tigers vs Exeter
15:15Saracens vs Harlequins
Sunday 29th March
14:00Sale Sharks vs Gloucester
14:30London Welsh vs Bath
Friday 10th April
19:45Newcastle vs Bath
Saturday 11th April
15:00Harlequins vs Gloucester
15:15Saracens vs Leicester
Sunday 12th April
14:00Exeter vs Northampton
14:30London Welsh vs Wasps
15:00London Irish vs Sale
Friday 24th April
19:45Bath vs London Irish
Saturday 25th April
14:00Sale vs Harlequins
15:00Gloucester vs Newcastle
15:00Leicester vs London Welsh
15:15Northampton vs Saracens
Sunday 26th April
14:00Wasps vs Exeter
Friday 8th May
19:45Harlequins vs Bath
Saturday 9th May
14:00Sale vs Newcastle
15:00Northampton vs London Welsh
15:00Gloucester vs London Irish
15:15Wasps vs Leicester Tigers
Sunday 10th May
14:00Saracens vs Exeter
Saturday 16th May
15:30Exeter vs Sale

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Phil Edwards

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