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No excuses from Sale chief Diamond after another European Cup defeat

Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond offered no complaints after his side suffered a 28-11 defeat against the Scarlets in their European Champions Cup opener.

It was Sale's 12th successive defeat in top-flight European competition, and they remain without a European Cup win since they beat Cardiff Blues two years ago.

Sale were sent on their way by first-half tries from Scarlets scrum-half Gareth Davies and wing DTH van der Merwe.

And Van der Merwe's second touchdown after 57 minutes ended the contest, with Scarlets fly-half Rhys Patchell adding three penalties and two conversions to underpin a comfortable win before next Saturday's daunting assignment against Pool Three favourites Saracens in north London.

Hooker Neil Briggs claimed a try for the visitors, with fly-half Dan Mugford adding two penalties, but, in a group that also includes European heavyweights Saracens and Toulon, Sale already look as if they will be making up the numbers.

"I think overall we were beaten by a better side on the night," Diamond said following the Parc-y-Scarlets reversal..

"The first-half performance, we got a kick charged down (that led to a Scarlets try), and a bit of indiscipline, and they built a handsome lead.

"Overall, no complaints. They were better than us tonight.

"We do well most years to get into this competition, and we are a good side at home and it will only be a fool that takes us lightly up there.

"Not withstanding that, we've got a six-day turnaround before facing Toulon, but maybe some of our injured players will come fit in the week.

"We will build for Toulon now. I think we have sold eight or nine thousand tickets already, and hopefully we can give them a run for their money.

"The Scarlets are a good side. Their back-line just had a little more edge about them tonight, but apart from that, it was two equal teams for most of the game."

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac added: "To get off to a winning start was important. We knew we had to step it up.

"Next week, we might only get two or three opportunities in the game, and, against a class side like Saracens, we will have to take the opportunities that arise.

"It is a very tough pool.

"We watched the Toulon versus Saracens game today, and both those sides are another proposition again. We have just got to keep building, and make sure we throw the kitchen sink at Saracens."


From Belfast Telegraph