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Diamond happy as Sale shine

Steve Diamond hailed his Sale side's battling qualities as they moved into the Aviva Premiership top six with a hard-fought 16-8 victory over struggling Newcastle.

Sale had won just once in their last 20 visits Kingston Park but as far as Diamond is concerned, the past is the past.

A healthy festive period has now seen the Sharks position themselves well for the run-in and Diamond said: "What we're after is steady improvement and keeping up our momentum, and that's what we've done with our results against London Irish and Leicester and now winning at Newcastle.

"We set ourselves a target for the Christmas and New Year period and we've done well and I'm very pleased.

"Newcastle is a really hard place to come and win and to snatch an away victory is always good. Our second-half performance was good and our defence was dominant throughout.

"We didn't do enough with the elements in the first half, but it changed a bit in the second half and our second-half game management was what won the game for us."

Meanwhile, Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards was left bemoaning a second successive match in which his side failed to capitalise on the wind and rain when in their favour.

The margin of defeat also meant there was no bonus point for the north-east side.

"We gave away a soft try which is getting to be a habit and a couple of silly penalties," the former Harlequins boss said.

"What really let us down was our inability to play the conditions, especially in the second half, which is also becoming a habit.

"We didn't seem to know or understand how to play the conditions and if you don't learn how to use the conditions then you are going to lose games."

Tom Brady scored Sale's first-half score with Danny Cipriani adding a conversion and two penalties, with another three-pointer from Scott Malone.


From Belfast Telegraph