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Sale boss Steve Diamond: Top-four spot a big ask but within our capabilities

Published 05/03/2016

Steve Diamond reckons Sale are capable of a top-four finish in the near future
Steve Diamond reckons Sale are capable of a top-four finish in the near future

Director of rugby Steve Diamond outlined Sale's ambition to break into the Aviva Premiership's top four following Saturday's 29-23 victory over Harlequins.

TJ Ioane and Will Addison touched down while Joe Ford and Danny Cipriani added 11 and eight points from the boot respectively.

It was their first triumph over the London side at home since 2010 and, having ended that barren run, Diamond believes a place in the play-offs is within the Sharks' capabilities.

"We haven't finished outside the top six for several years, which a lot of people forget about," Diamond said. "This year and next year is our assault on getting into that top four. It will be a big ask, but that's what we're trying to do.

"We've got a different model to a lot of the other clubs. They have massive squads. We don't, but the beauty of that is we don't lose many to internationals.

"We can therefore stick together and do everything we've been doing. We've built a lot of momentum with that and we've been doing that for five years."

Diamond was also pleased with the contribution of Ford after the fly-half started in place of Danny Cipriani, who was dropped for his inconsistency off the tee.

He added: "His performance with the boot and trying to get the game going was really good. He just needs game time. The problem that we have is that people are picked on form and, until you have a little bit of shaky form, you stay in the team."

Harlequins wing Marland Yarde may be out of action for a while after dislocating his shoulder against the Sharks.

Yarde landed awkwardly following a high tackle by Sale captain and openside flanker Dave Seymour.

"He's in a sling," Quins boss Conor O'Shea said. "It doesn't look great but we will have to see a specialist.

"It felt like it (the shoulder) went out on the pitch but it's gone back in. How much damage it's done, we'll have to wait and see, but it's disappointing for him."

The injury to the England wing adds to the issues for O'Shea, who saw his side succumb to their fifth Premiership defeat in six.

He added: "We knew it was going to be a tough window (without our international players), but everybody is beating everybody.

"If the players continue to play with the heart that they played with today, things will happen for them. You have tough times in seasons, you work your way through them and our job now is to win our next two home games."

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