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Sale boss Steve Diamond critical of concussion protocols after Gloucester defeat

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond believes the concussion protocols need addressing following their 26-13 defeat to Gloucester.

The Greater Manchester outfit were in contention after Cameron Neild's try reduced the deficit to 17-13, but a head injury to Dan Mugford left them without a stand-off for the rest of the match.

With their other fly-half AJ MacGinty also on the treatment table, scrum-half Mike Phillips was forced to shift to the pivot position and the Sharks lost control as a result.

Diamond said: "The pressure's on the medical people under the new HIA (head injury assessment) regulations. All you need to have is a slap on the head and they have you off the field for 13 minutes now and I don't know where we are going with it."

Despite the injury to Mugford disrupting the continuity of the backline, Diamond did not believe it altered the course of the game.

"We were second best by a country mile tonight, we just couldn't get any control," he added. "When we got control of field position our basic skill let us down.

"We lost Mugford in the second half and we've got a nine playing 10 so that confused the issue a little bit, but I thought we were playing quite well there.

"The most disappointing thing in the second half was that when we got to within four points, we gave those soft penalties away."

It was a result that dropped Sale below Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership table as the Cherry and Whites secured their first victory of the season.

Greig Laidlaw kicked 16 points while John Afoa and Charlie Sharples crossed the whitewash to seal a win which delighted director of rugby David Humphreys.

"We've obviously been very disappointed with the two results this season," Humphreys said. "We knew coming to Sale we had to be very strong defensively and we knew we had to be disciplined.

"Although we gave away too many penalties, our defensive maul was absolutely outstanding and for me that was the winning of the game, along with our general defence.

"For us, we've got 12 players unavailable in game three of the season and we've said so many times to be competitive in this league you need a depth to your squad."

Humphreys also reserved praise for playmakers Laidlaw and Billy Burns, who controlled the game expertly in the final 10 minutes.

He added: "There was much better game management from our half-backs, I thought they worked us into the positions.

"With Greig's kicking we don't even notice it now, it's been so good. If we get a penalty within the opposition half, you almost assume it's going to be three points.

"But Greig's influence on this group of players goes way beyond that, it's his leadership, his captaincy that he's brought to the team this year.

"I thought both he and Billy Burns dictated that last 20 minutes and it ultimately won us the game."


From Belfast Telegraph