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Tait troubled by slow starters

Newcastle head coach Alan Tait was left frustrated by his side's slow start as the Aviva Premiership strugglers slumped to defeat at the hands of high-flying Sale.

The Falcons trailed 16-0 after 22 minutes and although they battled back and gave Sale a scare, Tait's men ended up going down 27-19 - an eighth defeat of the campaign for the league's bottom club.

"It was 30 minutes before we actually woke ourselves up," Tait said. "I've spoken to the guys after the game and that was a disappointing start. I think mentally a lot of players didn't prepare themselves for the challenge that was ahead."

He added: "Full marks to Sale, I've watched them a lot on the video trying to analyse their game. Although they don't have as many big stars as they had in the past, they do work hard for one another."

Tom Brady touched down early on before Nick Macleod scored four successive penalties to leave Sale in control early on.

However, the Falcons hit back through nine points from the boot of Jimmy Gopperth to go with a try from Jeremy Manning as the visitors got back to within three points at 19-16 midway through the second half. But a Mark Cueto try and another three-pointer from Macleod saw the Sharks emerge victorious despite Gopperth's fourth penalty.

Sale executive director of sport Steve Diamond said after the game: "It's where we're at really; we play well in the first half and potentially could blow them away.

"Sides get into us a little bit but fair play; we managed to weather the storm and finished strongly. We probably scored the try against the grain, but that's the way it goes.

"With a player like Gopperth who kicks everything soccer-style from everywhere, it's difficult, but I don't think we were in massive danger of conceding tries.

"Our ill-discipline let us down a bit and he was knocking them over from all over the show, so we'll work on that. But it's half-time in the league and I'm pretty happy about it."

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