Sale Shark’s hopes of a top-four finish took a dent on Friday with a 12-3 defeat to Bath Rugby at the Recreation Ground.
Sale remain in seventh and nine points of the semi-final places after failing to claim even a losing bonus point in Round 17.
Tom Homer kicked four goals to Danny Cipriani’s one as the Somerset side won the try-less encounter, but Sharks head coach Steve Diamond was pleased his team’s defensive performance.
He said: “It was a good defensive display and I think in the first half our tackle count had a 95 per cent success, it was very pleasing and I think our performance was enough to warrant something from this game.
“We put a lot of hard work and endeavour into the game and it’s frustrating not to have got anything out of the game.
“This result shows the difference between us and the top four sides, our players turn out every week, we don’t have a big squad and I thought we just looked tired when we got the ball tonight.
“I thought we probably should have gone for the posts in the second half and pick up an away bonus point but the team and the captain decided not to and kicked for touch instead.
“We just got a little bit flustered, we didn’t show enough composure and that’s very frustrating – it’s something for us to work on.”
Diamond still believes his boys can challenge for the end of season honours with three of their five remaining games at home.
“We welcome the break, we have three home games coming up and we just want to pick up some points and keep challenging these sides like Bath.”
Sale are not in action until the end of March, because of the Six Nations and LV=Cup, when they host Gloucester Rugby at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Main image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.