Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Diamond plans changes after 'shambles'

Steve Diamond

Sale Sharks coach and chief executive Steve Diamond labelled their performance a "shambles" after they were thrashed 45-9 by Saracens at Edgeley Park.

Charlie Hodgson returned to huant Sale with a 20-point haul, while Chris Wyles, Ernst Joubert, Alex Goode, Michael Tagicakibau and Hugh Vyvyan all went over for the Watford-based outfit, with the result severely denting the Sharks' top-six aspirations.

"Defensively we were a shambles. Admittedly, they're a good side and they were very patient, and just worked on our errors," Diamond said. "Fair play to them, but we've got to look at ourselves really, look at what we're doing behind the scenes as a coaching team and make sure what we are doing transpires."

He added: "We had nine-and-a-half-thousand people working hard behind the scenes to get rugby popular in the North West and we could do without that to be perfectly honest.

"I think the crowds have come over the last three or four home games and nobody likes people leaving early, so there will be changes afoot all over the show. We're shedding 24/25 points a game and quite a lot of games we've been scoring that or thereabouts, but today really was an awakening for us.

"Saracens are a good side, we know that, they are champions and it looks like they're going in the right direction again. You can't take anything away from them, but they did actually make us look really poor in some areas."

The win sends Saracens to the top of the table and director of rugby Mark McCall said: "I thought he had a wonderful game. Charlie's come back from the Six Nations really confident and he's enjoying his rugby. Unfortunately, he didn't play the last couple of games, but he was great tonight.

"Tonight was a good start, but we can't get too far ahead. We navigated through the Six Nations, with a lot of players away and a lot of injuries, pretty well. Today, again, was a real squad effort at a really difficult place to visit."

The only downside for Saracens was an injury to flanker Andy Saull who was stretchered with a serious looking injury.

McCall added: "It's potentially a medial ligament in his knee. We don't know yet. We will get a scan over the next two days but we're hopeful it's nothing too serious."

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