belfasttelegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Diamond praise for Cipriani

Sale's Danny Cipriani drew praise from Steve Diamond for his performance in the win over Wasps.

Sale Sharks' director of rugby Steve Diamond praised the contribution of mercurial stand-off Danny Cipriani after their 26-22 victory over Wasps.

Despite being out in the cold for the first two games versus Gloucester and Newcastle, the fly-half was named in the match-day 22 against Wasps and came off the bench for the injured Nick Macleod to make an impact.

He scored 21 points in all including the second try and also set up Mark Cueto's touchdown as the Sharks secured their second win of the season.

Diamond said: "We've got a lot of competition in the squad and people have to fight and play in the second team on a Monday night and Danny's done that.

"He's come back, come on and done what he does well. He controlled the game with the pack giving him some ball. He played really well, he won us the game.

"Everyone talks about Danny Cipriani but we just want the consistency. He's come on and proved his worth. What he needs to do is do that regularly."

Another who impressed after coming on as a substitute was Mark Easter. The number eight was not even named in the initial squad but a spate of injuries meant he was called into action.

"At the end of the warm-up James Gaskell had an issue with some tenderness on the bottom of his foot as he can't put pressure through," Diamond added.

"We then brought Josh Beaumont on who's a kid but a physical lad and was doing well before he got injured.

"Fortunately Easter hadn't had a couple of beers before he was called from upstairs to put my boots on, somebody else's gumshield and play well for 60 minutes."

Wasps' director of rugby Dai Young was frustrated by their overall performance despite coming back from 20-3 down to within one point with nine minutes to go.

Young said: "To be honest, I'm hugely disappointed the fightback didn't come earlier. It took us until the 55th minute of the game before we got back into it.

"We could have even sneaked it in the end but that's not good enough. I thought some of our skill levels tonight were embarrassing and that's what I've said to the players.

"I think we got ourselves in position and simple knock-ons didn't allow us to build any pressure or any momentum.

"We made things very difficult for ourselves by playing in the wrong areas and not fielding simple high kicks. I thought our skill levels tonight were unacceptable."

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