Sport

Sale Sharks deservedly suffered 62-0 in Heineken Cup by superior Toulon, claims John Mitchell

By James Scott

Sale Sharks’ Director of Rugby John Mitchell insisted his side had not been good enough after a nine-try thrashing by star-studded Toulon in the Heineken Cup.

Despite only conceding three points in the first half hour, Sharks went in at the break on the back foot after tries from Frederik Michalak and Jean-Charles Orioli.

But the floodgates opened in the second-half as Sale shipped seven tries, including scores for England international siblings Steffon and Delon Armitage, to suffer a 62-0 defeat.

Former All Blacks coach Mitchell was dejected with his side’s display against the French league leaders and insisted his side deserved their 12th defeat in 15 games.

“The team is disappointed, as well as individuals with their own performances,” said the New Zealander.

“I’ve been looking at this group of players ahead of the Christmas period and I certainly know a lot more about some individuals after that performance.

“Some of the characters have been revealed and I don’t have a lot of choice in some positions.

“But we don’t have any regrets – we got what we deserved. Toulon were exceptional.”

Toulon rested several key players after winning their opening three Heineken Cup fixtures, with Johnny Wilkinson and former Sale forward Andrew Sheridan on the bench.

The French side were imperious in the second half, with Joe Van Niekark, Davit Kubriashvili, Rudi Wulf and David Smith all crossing over at the Stade Felix Mayol.

Former Sale player Mitchell bemoaned his side’s capitulation against Toulon after half an hour that had shown plenty of promise in terms of Sale’s defence.

“All the defensive work we did in the first half took its toll,” said Mitchell.

“We were there for 35 minutes but we gave them two soft tries through the same channel and unfortunately against a side like Toulon you can’t afford to do that.

“We were coming here looking to build on the previous performance at home, but that wasn’t achieved and we are very disappointed.”

The defeat leaves Sale Sharks in third place in pool six of the Heineken Cup and seven points behind Montpellier with two games remaining.

Picture courtesy of NiceMatinVideo, with thanks

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