Sharks still in with a sniff of Euro­pean place de­spite away de­feat

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SHARKS lost out 34-19 to Exeter fol­low­ing a hard-fought game at a sold-out Sandy Park on Satur­day.

De­spite the de­feat, Sale re­main in con­tention for a valu­able Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons Cup place for next sea­son, but they will need to beat Le­ices­ter at home in their fi­nal fix­ture to have any chance of se­cur­ing it.

By­ron McGuigan scored two tries for Sale, An­drei Ostrikov the other, with AJ MacGinty adding two con­ver­sions.

Sharks di­rec­tor of rugby, Steve Di­a­mond, said: “We were beaten by a bet­ter side but the fi­nal score doesn’t re­flect the game as we de­served a bonus point but it wasn’t to be.

“In the first half, their set piece was in con­trol and we made some cru­cial er­rors but over­all it was a good per­for­mance.

“After that I’m re­ally con­fi­dent of win­ning our cru­cial game against Le­ices­ter and Glouces­ter tak­ing a good hid­ing to­day helped.

“We are a good team at the be­gin­ning of a jour­ney as we are un­recog­nis­able as the team that kicked off at the start of the sea­son and we will be even stronger next sea­son.”

Exeter’s tries came from Nic White, Jack Ye­an­dle, Greg Holmes and Lachie Turner with Joe Sim­monds con­vert­ing three and kick­ing a penalty.

Gareth Steen­son also added a penalty and a con­ver­sion but the Chiefs were made to work hard for their vic­tory with the game in the bal­ance un­til the last five min­utes.

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