Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

GUTSY SALE SUFFER A SECOND BIG BLOW ; Another Costly Loss Sees the Sharks'hopes of a Top-Four Finish Suffer a Major setbackRugby Union

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

GUTSY SALE SUFFER A SECOND BIG BLOW ; Another Costly Loss Sees the Sharks'hopes of a Top-Four Finish Suffer a Major setbackRugby Union

Article excerpt

BATH ................................12 SALE...................................3 SALE'S hopes of securing a top four Premiership place suffered a savage setback at Bath as they collapsed to a second costly defeat in six days.

In what was a hardfought, nervy encounter at the Rec, Sale were kicked to death by Bath full-back Tom Homer, whose four penalties proved decisive.

Sale's sole reply came from a Danny Cipriani penalty and, in truth, the Sharks could have few complaints about the outcome.

There was plenty of perspiration from Steve Diamond's men but precious little inspiration on a night when try-scoring chances were at a premium.

But with Bath ending a run of four straight defeats and moving up into second in the table, they will not care a jot about that.

Failure to even conjure up a losing bonus point was bitterly disappointing for the Sharks following on from Saturday's 28-8 loss against Leicester.

And it means that Sale, going into a three week hiatus, will remain becalmed in seventh place.

They now face a run of three crucial games against Gloucester, London Irish and Harlequins on which their season will most likely hinge.

And disappointed director of rugby Steve Diamond admitted they had again come up short, though he couldn't fault his side's effort.

"There was a lot of hard work from us and it was a great defensive effort so not to get a losing bonus point is disappointing," Diamond admitted.

"In terms of the top four it's probably looking diffi-cult but there is still a lot to play for in terms of the Champions Cup.

"We were pretty equal out there for most of the game - we just lacked a bit of composure.

"We have a small squad unlike the best sides and we've just come off four hard games and it showed.

"We were just off the pace a little bit at the breakdown but we can't criticise the endeavour. We'll rub ourselves down and look to kick on from here. …

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