Cipriani-inspired Sale Sharks enjoy perfect start to 2016 by ‘stifling’ Wasps

Danny Cipriani showed his England potential this weekend as Sale Sharks beat Wasps in their first Aviva Premiership match of 2016 at the AJ Bell Stadium.

In poor conditions and visibility, the fly half kicked all 15 of his side’s points, including a well-timed drop goal.

The win saw the Sharks leapfrog the Coventry-based side to seventh in the Premiership table with their third victory of the season.

Steve Diamond praised Danny Cipriani, and his half back partners Chris Cusiter and Peter Stringer, as they helped orchestrate the home victory.

“I thought we deserved the win,” said Diamond.

“It was a close game and it wasn’t going to be full of skills but we stuck to our plan.

“We stifled their fantastic runners, they never had a chance to get going.”

The Sharks’ boss was delighted that his side managed to close out the tight match, having faltered late on against Harlequins and Newcastle.

“We saw the game off perfectly,” he said.

“We said in training all week ‘forget about the first halves because we’re good at them – what do we do in the last 15 minutes?’

“What you need is experience and I thought Danny Cipriani had a great game and Chris Cusiter was outstanding, and Peter Stringer came on and was outstanding too.

“If your half-backs are playing well and your pack has got more than equal possession, you stand a chance of winning those games.”

“He’s playing really well,” Diamond said of Cipriani.

“He’s pushing himself onto that England radar for the Six Nations squad.

“He’s a leader of running the game for us, with Stringer and Cusiter, and he’s got the full complement of skills: it’s so rare these days but so valuable.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the Premiership season, Diamond added: “This is the toughest year so far, I’ve not said that before.

“You see with Newcastle winning today against Bath, London Irish pushing Gloucester until the death, so you need to pick up all your home games.”

Image courtesy of BT Sport via YouTube, with thanks.

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