‘Improve the youth’ says Diamond after Sale Sharks feel Dragons’ heat in Europe

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond is determined to bed in younger members of his squad despite a chastening defeat to Newport Gwent Dragons in their opening European Challenge Cup match.

A powerful display from the hosts helped the Welsh side establish a 17-0 half-time lead before Sale challenged late with two tries in a 30-12 loss.

Looking ahead to the second pool game against Pau at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday, Diamond insisted that he was sticking to his game plan.

“We just didn’t execute out wide, we had two chances and they weren’t taken,” he said.

“We’ve just got to up the skill set of the young lads and improve them.

“Sometimes the result doesn’t go your way but you’ve got to stick in there and keep giving the young lads this kind of experience.

“They’ll learn a lot from this kind of experience. You’ve got to put it to bed.”

Diamond praised the performances of Mark Jennings and Tim Jeffers, but said his young side need to work on certain aspects of their game.

“Our execution let us down in the last fifteen, where I thought we could have got a losing bonus point.

“Credit to the Dragons, they put us to the sword. We got overpowered.

“I thought in the second half, we got back into the game. We just didn’t execute our basics well in a difficult environment. Ultimately that cost us the game.”

Try-scorer and scrum half James Mitchell described his side’s loss as a massive disappointment.

“We just weren’t there in terms of skill set and playing our shape so it’s tough to accept a defeat like that.

“It’s a huge learning curve coming to a place like this, but it’s good to get the opportunity as you don’t get it at other clubs.”

“We’ll review the game and put it behind us, you can’t dwell on stuff like this.”

Image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.

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