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No illegal approach for Redpath - Sale

Sale chief executive Steve Diamond has unequivocally denied allegations that his club made an illegal approach to Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath.

The Sharks put one foot in the Heineken Cup by edging the clash with Gloucester 24-19 for the last remaining place in next season's competition. Full-back Rob Miller scored two tries for Sale, with fly-half Nick Macleod adding 14 points with the boot, but the match was overshadowed by the controversy involving Redpath, who put in his letter of resignation to Gloucester on Monday.

The links and rumours that Redpath was going to Sale started circulating a week ago, but Diamond said: "The true version is that we have had no conversations with Bryan Redpath. I have had discussions with his agent since he resigned from here but, up until then, nothing."

He added: "I think he has interviews at Munster and possibly Bath so he has a busy agenda. But, if he is available, we are going to speak with him. Now he is available, he is on our shopping list. We will make a decision at the end of the season. We need someone in place by June 6 for pre-season."

Gloucester's points came via a first-half try when wing Charlie Sharples snatched a restart out of the hands of lock Andrei Ostrikov to stroll over. Fly-half Freddie Burns added four penalties and a conversion.

Diamond was asked directly after the match whether Redpath had been contacted by Sale about becoming their coach, and the former hooker said: "Certainly not. That's unequivocal."

Diamond was pleased that Sale have almost put themselves in the Heineken Cup. Only Bath stand in their way and the west-country club need to beat Leicester at Welford Road with a bonus point on the last day of the regular season - May 5 - while Sale have to lose and get nothing at home to Harlequins.

Diamond said: "It was a good win. It is good to come down here and get the victory. We are on the up and, if we can qualify for Europe, it will be a great result for the club, with the new stadium. It will be really positive for rugby in Manchester."

The disruption during the week meant Gloucester forwards coach Carl Hogg took charge of the team for the game.

He said: "This week has been emotional for many of the players. It was a special occasion today with a lot of players playing their last games at Kingsholm - Scott Lawson, Alasdair Strokosch, Mike Tindall, Tom Voyce - so there was no lack of endeavour. We just lacked precision."

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