Steve Diamond left disappointed following Sale’s failure to gain top six spot

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Steve Diamond left disappointed following Sale's failure to gain top six spot
GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 15: The Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond looks on prior to the Aviva Premiership match between Gloucester Rugby and Sale Sharks at Kingsholm Stadium on April 15, 2017 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Following his side’s 46-41 win over Gloucester Steve Diamond was left wanting as he saw his side remain in seventh position following the conclusion of all of the other games. Despite the disappointment of initially missing out on Champions Cup rugby, he talked about building from this moment and England’s poor selection tactics.

Top six missed but not lost today

Despite missing out on the top six automatic Champions Cup spots Steve Diamond insisted it wasn’t lost today.

He explained, “I thought we were very poor in defence and were good in attack. We needed four tries and needed to play that way.

“By the way the other results have gone it’s irrelevant to us as we’re not in sixth now so we’ll probably miss out on Eurovision [Champions Cup].

“We’re a bit disappointed in that but it wasn’t on today’s performance it was in past games.”

Lyon’s win means Sale fans must now hope La Rochelle win their final game against Bordeaux. Sale would then qualify as the Challenge Cup semi-finalist not already qualified by league position.

Solomona a try scoring machine

Denny Solomona bagged his 12th try of the Premiership campaign when he finished off Faf De Klerk’s break in sublime fashion. Despite his triumphs in a Sale shirt he hasn’t been favoured for England, much to the dismay of Diamond.

Diamond adding, “He tops the try scoring in the Premiership so he’ll get a little accolade and trophy on Wednesday night but the selectors don’t seem to think he fits the bill. Whereas every time he puts a jersey on for Sale, he scores.”

Building on a positive season

Sale have made some notable signings in the last month or so and Steve Diamond believes his side can build on the progress they’ve made this season saying, “We’ve got to be more consistent. That game is the greatest example of it.

“We were red hot when we had the ball but they scored off three simple plays we’ve defended all year.

“It’s just our consistency and with the new players coming in hopefully that’ll help.”

Playing into Gloucester’s hands

Despite playing an open game against a Gloucester side who would have preferred it that way, Diamond defended his team’s decision to go for it, saying they required the five points to give them any hope of Champions Cup rugby next season.

He said, “We’re not obliged to do it [play open rugby], but there’s not much you can do if you can’t keep up with them. We turned the ball over three times at lineouts and they got the ball out wide.

“As Matt Banahan just said, they had young lads who run about and we couldn’t control them. It could have gone either way at the end.”

New signings will improve squad depth

Looking ahead to next season and the squad additions coming into play Diamond explained how it’ll benefit his team’s rotation and help ease tiredness saying, “It’ll help a little bit, yeah.

“Ross Harrison, Jono [Ross] and Faf [De Klerk] won’t have to play every game. The strength on the bench allows you to get your selection a little bit more organised, like the big sides do.

“Overall we’ve challenged, we’ve not got top six which was the target so we won’t be too joyful tonight but we’ve got something to build on.”

Only one England hopeful

Speaking about the upcoming England World Cup training squad Diamond discussed the probabilities of certain Sale players being in that squad.

He said, “At the moment it only looks like Tom Curry by the looks of things. We’ll see where that goes.

“It’s a long time till the World Cup and the way England look after players in camp there’ll be a lot of injuries.

“We can certainly look at one of three on register for reserve, but we’ll see what happens. We can’t be too disheartened it’s not been a bad week really.”

Player welfare not an issue

With the World Cup around the corner Diamond was questioned on whether it leaves his players with a welfare issue.

Diamond responded, “We’re only missing six with the World Cup. We know our welfare element, they’ll get five weeks rest which is all they need.

“They won’t do anything for five weeks, they’ll go on holiday and they won’t go into camp for five weeks adhering to Premiership regulations.

“Then they go into international camps until they come back here so there’s no issue on welfare.”

Losing non-English players to World Cup

Sale are likely to lose Faf De Klerk and Lood De Jager [South Africa], Byron McGuigan and Josh Strauss [Both Scotland] and AJ MAcGinty to USA World Cup duty.

Speaking on the frustration of losing players that they won’t get remunerated for he said, “We’ve got to look at what we’ve got. Chris Ashton could have been in the running and Denny [Solomona] could have been in the running but the selectors choose other people.

“We’ve got five in the U20s, remarkably Luke James has just been called up but he’s been ignored by the U20s for the past two years.

“England need to get their act together.”

 

“Main photo credit”

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