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'Complete performance' by Danny Cipriani pleases Steve Diamond

Published 27/03/2016

Danny Cipriani won praise for his display against Leicester
Danny Cipriani won praise for his display against Leicester

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond paid tribute to Danny Cipriani after his match-winning try in the 27-20 Aviva Premiership win over Leicester.

In a match halted for 10 minutes early in the second half due to thunder and lightning, the fly-half capped an outstanding display with a superb late score.

Cipriani will leave the Sharks at the end of the season and rejoin Wasps, but Diamond was quick to acknowledge his role in maintaining Sale's unbeaten home record this season.

With the scores locked at 20-20 after 69 minutes, Cipriani weaved his way over the line and also claimed 12 points with the boot.

Diamond said: "Danny saw the gap and took it and scored a brilliant try to be fair.

"His goal-kicking was great, his defence was good and it was a complete performance by him really.

"He will be replaced and we have replaced him already, the announcement will be made in the next week or so.

"Danny sees his future elsewhere and it has been written about for months now, so good on him.

"The good thing was that we had a sit down and he wants to get us as high up in the league as he can.

"You saw in his performance today that he doesn't look like a lad who wants to leave."

The result kept alive Sale's hopes of qualifying for Europe this season and Diamond admitted he had no problem with the stoppage in play, even if he did not agree with it.

Thunder and lightning appeared over the AJ Bell Stadium as play was temporarily halted early in the second half as first-half tries for Cameron Neild and Nev Edwards put Sale in control before Cipriani's late clincher.

Diamond, whose side completed a league double over the Tigers, added: "We were hanging on, but I think we could have seen the game out a bit earlier with a bit more game-management.

"But we need some excitement at the AJ Bell Stadium to get bigger crowds and I think they got their money's worth today.

"It's just the world we live in, with health and safety, and the officials thought it most prudent that we came in.

"I thought it wasn't, because tactically we got the decision right to get the wind and the howling rain.

"We waited for it to calm down and fortunately it didn't change the game for us.

"Both sets of coaches wanted it to continue but the referee took the decision, so fair play to him. I don't think it had a bearing on the result."

Sale director of rugby Richard Cockerill cut a frustrated figure as his side came off second best, despite the return of England trio Dan Cole, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi after Six Nations duty.

On the second-half delay, Cockerill said: "The television match official decided it was a health-and-safety risk, which is a bit bizarre really in a contact sport.

"But I suppose it was a sensible thing to do and Sale played well and took their opportunities.

"It's the game we needed to win, really. It's a game we haven't. We'll take the point and we live to fight another day, but I think that takes our top-two ambitions out of the equation and you're fighting for top four."

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