Anglesea hails team spirit
Published 03/01/2011 | 07:12
Pete Anglesea believes the 28-22 victory over Saracens demonstrates the change in morale among the Sale Sharks players since he replaced Mike Brewer as head coach.
Former club captain Anglesea took over from Brewer two days before Christmas and, after suffering a 54-21 defeat at Aviva Premiership champions Leicester in his first match, watched his side end a five-game losing run.
Anglesea was delighted with Sale's first Premiership win since October 22, one which he could see coming, and said: "It shows in the way the players walk around, you can see that their body language has changed. The attitude was fantastic."
First-half tries from new captain Mark Cueto, his predecessor James Gaskell and Chris Bell gave the hosts a 28-9 lead at the interval.
Saracens came back in the second period when James Short crossed for their only try but, despite Owen Farrell's 17 points, had to settle for a losing bonus point.
Anglesea added: "I think there was one stage where we had a scrum about 13 minutes before half-time.
"We had a great scrum, the referee gave a penalty in our favour and all the backs ran over to all the forwards and I think that's some part of team spirit that we haven't seen in a long while. It touched me more than anything really."
Anglesea pinpointed the early score from England wing Cueto, who went off in the second half with cramp, as a significant confidence booster, and also saw the importance of the returning Charlie Hodgson, who kicked 13 points.
"We talked last week about having a big start and it was one of those situations where I think for about the first four minutes we were actually nervous, we actually dropped a few balls early doors," Anglesea added.
"Then all of a sudden somebody does something in the game that inspires you, and I thought all of a sudden we relaxed and Charlie put us on the front foot and we played to our game plan."