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Steve Diamond happy despite Danny Cipriani's struggles

Published 27/02/2016

Even several missed conversions could not leave Steve Diamond disappointed
Even several missed conversions could not leave Steve Diamond disappointed

Sale Sharks' director of rugby Steve Diamond was pleased with their draw against Saracens, despite seeing fly-half Danny Cipriani cost his side victory with four missed conversions.

The Manchester outfit were 17-0 up at one stage via tries from Sam James, Johnny Leota and Tom Arscott but, following an excellent Sarries fightback, the Sharks found themselves 36-26 down with 10 minutes to go.

Late TJ Ioane and Arscott scores duly rescued three Aviva Premiership points for the Sharks, but Cipriani was unable to hit the target from the tee to secure the win.

However, Diamond was content with the result, irrespective of the stand-off's kicking woes.

"I was delighted, particularly with being 10 points behind with 10 minutes to go," he said.

"I was really pleased with the last 15 minutes, it showed a lot of character. We were playing it out wide and scored a lot of good tries and Will (Addison) and Mike (Haley) were trying their best.

"In the last five games I think we've scored 19 tries and that's what we're good at doing so we will carry on in that vein."

One frustration for Diamond could have been Chris Wyles' second try, which was awarded just before half-time when the wing appeared to be in touch, but Sale's director of rugby refused to be drawn into criticising the officials.

He added: "They had a dubious one in the corner but you can't whinge and moan, you've got to get on with it.

"He was in touch but you get on with it. They've got the TMO and, if he can't see it, then there's no point whinging about it."

Saracens' boss Mark McCall was also positive about the draw having seen his weakened outfit go seven points clear of second-placed Exeter Chiefs.

McCall said: "Overall, we've got to be satisfied to get three points at a place where a lot of teams have struggled this year.

"Especially after we were 17-0 down, I thought we showed some good resilience and character to come back into it.

"I guess the only disappointing thing was that when we got to 36-26 up, which seemed remarkable given the start we had, it was a little bit disappointing to let them back in but they probably deserved it on the balance of play.

"We needed to tighten up our defence. I thought we defended poorly in that first 20 minutes but we defended well in the second half.

"Even though they scored a couple of tries in the last 10 minutes, they had to work hard for those tries whereas they didn't for the other three."

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