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David Humphreys praises makeshift team after win at Sale

Published 29/04/2016

Greig Laidlaw kicked four penalties as Gloucester won at Sale
Greig Laidlaw kicked four penalties as Gloucester won at Sale

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys praised his makeshift outfit as they secured their first Aviva Premiership triumph at Sale Sharks since 2001.

The Cherry and Whites have struggled with a number of injuries, particularly in the back line, but managed to overcome those issues and end the Manchester outfit's unbeaten home run.

Sale had not been defeated at the AJ Bell Stadium in the league this season until the West Country side edged to a 12-11 victory.

Humphreys said: "From a psychological point of view, to win at Sale is a huge step forward, especially when you consider we had three scrum-halves and four centres in the back line at the end.

"I don't think anybody can question the heart and character that's in this squad. There's huge fight, we have a competitive edge but what we lack in big games is a little bit of detail, a little bit of accuracy.

"That's the step forward we can make as a team. If we start moving up the league, those are the small things in games we've got to get right."

Humphreys also commended stand-in fly-half Greig Laidlaw who controlled the game excellently and kicked four penalties in their win over Sale.

He added: "He hasn't played out-half for three years but you will struggle to see a better number 10 performance across the Premiership this weekend in terms of his control, composure, decision-making and defence. We had great shape and it just shows his quality as a rugby player."

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond, whose side's points came from a Johnny Leota try and two Danny Cipriani penalties, criticised the team's performance and refused to believe that the disappointing display of some individuals was down to the occasion.

Several players were featuring in their last home match before leaving for pastures new and they were unable to muster the required levels throughout.

"I don't think the emotion got to them, most of the players who are leaving just didn't play very well tonight," Diamond said.

The Sharks' boss also singled out a couple of errors by Wasps-bound fly-half Cipriani after the England international gave away two penalties for high tackles.

"There were silly high tackles," he said.

"People have to bend their backs in this game, it's pathetic. We also gave away silly penalties but take nothing away from Gloucester, they came here to do a job and they did it.

"We can't take the credit away from Gloucester, you make your own luck. But you also contribute to your downfall and we did that magnificently well."

Having seen their unbeaten home league record go, a defeat which dents their top-six ambitions, Sale will probably need to end the season with a victory at Newcastle Falcons next weekend.

Diamond added: "We got the bonus point tonight and we need to win away from home (next week). It would have been nice to win and kept the record but it takes a bit of pressure off us in one respect, so we will get down to business on Monday and see where we're at."

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