Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

SALE TAKING LESSONS AT FINISHING SCHOOL ; Braid Believes Sharks Can Challenge Top Four - but Only If They Learn from Their Mistakes

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

SALE TAKING LESSONS AT FINISHING SCHOOL ; Braid Believes Sharks Can Challenge Top Four - but Only If They Learn from Their Mistakes

Article excerpt

SALE skipper Dan Braid believes the Sharks are ideally placed to launch a top four Premiership challenge in spite of Saturday's gut- wrenching loss to Leicester Tigers.

Playing in front of a record crowd of 11,247 at the AJ Bell Stadium, Sale seemed poised to record their fifth straight league win only to lose to a lastminute converted try as they were edged out 32-30.

With the season now at the official half-way point, Sale are in seventh position having accumulated 30 points and lie just three points behind fourth-placed Exeter.

And former All Blacks flanker Braid - who has played a key factor in Sale's excellent recent run of form - is confident that if he and his colleagues carry on in their current groove and heed the lessons of how they threw away a commanding 30-15 lead over Leicester, the second half of the campaign could prove to be a memorable one for the club.

"It's the half-way stage of the season and I think we are in good shape despite Saturday's big disappointment," said Braid. "We've got 30 points on the board and we're in a good place.

"We've played a couple of the top teams away from home so it's all up to us to keep on playing the good rugby, to learn the lessons from each game and really look to kick on in the second half of the season.

"I think the key lesson is about how to finish off games. We've been up so many times this year and then just fallen away at the back end and that happened again on Saturday. "It's definitely a mental factor for us about when the pressure comes on still believing in what your game is about.

"Leicester defend tight and in the first half we got to the edges and scored tries and made numerous line breaks.

"But as they got back into the game we got tight and it's about backing your game in those tight positions.

"We played so well and dominated the first half and attacked so well but then we just lost our composure in the second half. …

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