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Steve Diamond praises Sale players after win over Northampton

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond praised his team's resilience after they beat Northampton 20-13 in the Aviva Premiership.

The Manchester outfit were 20-6 ahead at one stage through Sam James and Will Addison tries and 10 Danny Cipriani points, but Stephen Myler's touchdown made it a nervous final quarter.

However, they managed to hold on and Diamond was pleased with their efforts.

"In the first half we attacked very well with the possession we got and the driving maul became a weapon," he said.

"It managed to suck them in so there was space out wide. We're a different kettle of fish at home. As long as we can guarantee some ball, with the players we've got we'll always go all right.

"It was a test of character in the last 10 minutes when we had no ball and were conceding field position all the time, but we managed to stay resilient, be disciplined and see the game out."

Diamond was also delighted with the contributions of two academy graduates as James and Mike Haley both made significant impressions.

He added: "He's (Sam James) a good young lad coming through the academy. He plays around Johnny Leota and more experienced players and he gets opportunities, which he took today.

"He reminds me of Jos Baxendell who was here for a lot of years and had a great skill set. He's tall, unorthodox but a good defender and has a great skill set.

"Haley was outstanding. He caught everything that was kicked at him. He's like an old rugby league full-back who goes up in the air with his knees up."

Sale just about edged a Northampton team who succumbed to a second defeat of the season and Saints' boss Jim Mallinder was frustrated by their performance.

"It was very disappointing," he said.

"We've not got a brilliant record up here, we knew it was going to be difficult, Sale play to a certain style and they're very difficult to beat.

"We shot ourselves in the foot and when you concede two silly tries like we did, you're always fighting an uphill battle."

Northampton also have concerns over the fitness of Courtney Lawes who went off with an apparent knee injury.

Despite that setback for the lock Northampton should have one international returning to their ranks when George North recovers from a hamstring issue.

Mallinder added: "George came back to us with a hamstring injury from Wales so we've been unable to play him, but I think he will be fit for next week."


From Belfast Telegraph