Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

HOPES BINNED AS SALE TURN YELLOW ; Diamond Points Finger at Referee as Sharks Suffer on the Road Again.

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

HOPES BINNED AS SALE TURN YELLOW ; Diamond Points Finger at Referee as Sharks Suffer on the Road Again.

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE ..................39 SALE.................................19 SALE'S slim hopes of qualifying for the LV= Cup semi-finals were blown away at a frozen Kingston Park as they were hit by a bout of yellow fever against a fired-up Newcastle Falcons.

A youthful and inexperienced Sale side picked up three yellow cards on what was a testing afternoon on Newcastle's arti-ficial surface with the rampant Falcons running in five tries.

To add to Sale's concerns, hooker Tommy Taylor and new signing TJ Ioane were both forced off at half-time with injuries which director of rugby Steve Diamond will hope aren't too serious given the imminent resumption of the Premiership.

But despite a second successive heavy loss on the road, following hard on the heels of last weekend's European Champions Cup shallacking at Munster, Diamond insisted he was happy with how his young charges never let their heads drop against more experienced opposition.

And he pointed an accusing finger at the card sharp antics of Welsh referee Rhys Thomas who baffled Sale with numerous calls and binned Nathan Fowles, Joe Ford and George Nott.

"Ciaran Parker, George Nott and Sam Bedlow all did pretty well on their first senior starts against a strong Newcastle team and we were unfortunate with some of the decisions with three yellow cards," said Diamond.

"In fact, two of the yellow cards were ridiculous but that's what you get in this competition.

"Maxim Cobilas also made a difference when he came on as a replacement but we've got to go through this process with the size of our squad.

"There was no faulting the effort of the players but Newcastle's pack were just better on the day.

"It was a big learning curve and we'll be constructing our main team now starting with Scarlets next week and going forward back into the league.

"The downside is that Tommy and TJ both took knocks so we will have to see how they are but we've got two weeks to go before we play London Welsh so there's a bit of time to try and get them right."

Newcastle were already 19-12 to the good when the game as a contest was effectively settled with time almost up in the first half. …

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