‘Red card a real game-changer’
...BUT DIAMOND’S HAPPY DESPITE AWAY DEFEAT
SALE Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond admitted Jean-Luc Du Preez’s red card just before half-time was a ‘big game-changer’ but took plenty of consolation from his side scrapping for a losing bonus point at Sixways.
Du Preez’s red card and two second-half Worcester tries in the space of four minutes dashed Sale’s hope of a second league away win this season, with the Sharks dropping out of the top four after five rounds.
The Sale lock was sent off after his shoulder connected with his opposite number, Graham Kitchener’s head and Diamond expects the South African to be out for six weeks.
“Up until the red card we were in control of the game,” said Diamond.
“I’ve only seen it from one angle and from that angle it’s not a red card but I have not seen the other side which may make it look worse.
“It was a big game-changer. [JeanLuc] Du Preez is a big player to lose and it’s disappointing to see a red card for an innocuous clear-out at the ruck. I hope he [Kitchener] is okay but he looked to be in a very bad way.
“After going down to 14 men, Faf de Klerk became the trailing defender in the back field which meant he was nowhere near as effective in coming off the line and making big hits.
“Our whole defensive game had to change and that took the legs out of us. We never really got on the front foot but we have got to be more disciplined than that.”
Terrific first-half tries from wing Chris Ashton and World Cup winner
De Klerk, both unconverted, had put Sharks ahead at half-time.
Despite being a man down for the second half, Sale managed to hang on for a losing bonus point with Worcester piling the pressure late on, something Diamond was happy to take away. However, the 50-yearold admitted his side needs to refocus ahead of their all-English Champions Cup double-header against Exeter Chiefs.
“We beat London Irish on the road but I think we’ve got to make sure our basics and fundamentals are right,” added the Sale boss.
“We had some good turnovers but we were unable to win the last three line-outs which would have given us a position to have a last go.
“We need to give credit to Worcester, who sucked us in and made us kick the ball.
“They found the space around the rucks. But I’ve got to say, I’m happy with the one point.”
Sale’s Rohan Janse van Rensburg is tackled by Worcester’s Francois Hougaard