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Steve Diamond keen for Sale Sharks to establish early-season consistency

Published 15/09/2016

Sale Sharks rugby director Steve Diamond is looking for his players to establish early-season momentum in the Aviva Premiership
Sale Sharks rugby director Steve Diamond is looking for his players to establish early-season momentum in the Aviva Premiership

Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond wants his players to establish early-season momentum in the Aviva Premiership.

Sale followed up an opening day bonus point defeat against Newcastle by beating Harlequins last time out, and Gloucester - one of four sides without a league win so far this term - are next up at AJ Bell Stadium on Friday.

"I think we just need some momentum," Diamond said.

"We need two wins on the bounce and we've got Gloucester coming, who are a really good attacking side. They have scored (more than) 50 points already this season.

"However, we just need to get our consistency with our set-piece as we did last week, and keep our defence up to scratch, and I think we will do all right."

Gloucester's opening Premiership clash saw them overhauled by Leicester after they led 31-7, before fighting back to claim a draw against 14-man Worcester six days ago.

Diamond added: "They've been unfortunate in both games. They are a disciplined side in the way they play, and they are a good attacking side under (rugby director) David Humphreys, and if we are not at our best, we won't win the game.

"I saw signs of the new boys picking up our style of play on Friday night (against Harlequins), but I've also seen it in training.

"It is the daily training environment where you learn these things, and if we keep nailing things in training then hopefully we can come to fruition on game night."

While Sale show a solitary switch from the Quins encounter - flanker Cameron Neild replaces an injured TJ Ioane - Gloucester have three changes of personnel.

Lock Mariano Galarza and flanker Ross Moriarty, who both went off injured during the Worcester match, are replaced by Joe Latta and Lewis Ludlow, respectively, with centre Mark Atkinson handed a start instead of Billy Twelvetrees, who is on the bench.

One of Gloucester's shining lights so far this season has been Scotland international centre Matt Scott, who has scored three tries in two games and made a clear difference to the club's attacking structure.

"Matt has been great since he has come in," Gloucester fly-half Billy Burns said.

"He is a hungry talent with a fair bit of experience at international level, and for a younger player like myself who wants to play the game with ball in hand, that's something huge.

"He was playing well in pre-season, too, and he has not only been learning new systems quickly, but has been giving the other guys some input with his own ideas."

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