‘Red card a real game-changer’

...BUT DI­A­MOND’S HAPPY DE­SPITE AWAY DE­FEAT

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - RUGBY UNION By JA­COB NEWBURY

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

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