LV Cup win: Diamond left breathless by Sale Sharks’ second half revival against Saracens

By Ed Owen

Director of rugby Steve Diamond was left on the edge of his seat after Sale Sharks’ stirring second-half comeback against Saracens in the LV Cup.

Sharks were trailing 20-12 at half-time at the Salford City Stadium but ended the game 25-23 victors courtesy of Rob Miller’s late penalty.

Diamond said: “If you weren’t involved, it was a good game of rugby!

“We injected some youth and enthusiasm in the second half, and overall I’m really pleased. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m delighted with the win.”

The former chief executive was left concerned by a first half performance which featured a weak
defence and plenty of errors.

“We were poor in the first half defensively. Saracens are a good side, and even though they were
missing some players, they know how to win.”

Despite opening the scoring courtesy of a third-minute Mark Cueto try – unconverted – Sharks found
themselves on the back foot throughout the opening forty minutes.

Sarries’ Zimbabwe-born inside-centre Nils Mordt was able to take advantage of mistakes just four
minutes later, scoring the first of two penalties.

Powerful runs by full-back Ben Ransom proved a problem – the Saracens academy product was
at the heart of a length-of-the-pitch move which split the Sharks defence and ended in a Kameli
Ratuvou try – Mordt converted.

In-between these two moves, Sale were awarded a penalty try – referee Llyr ApGeraint Roberts
penalising Saracens for collapsing a maul, which Jordan Davies converted.

But Ransom popped up again, his dangerous running provoking Mordt’s second converted penalty
and later allowing former Rugby League star Joel Tomkins in for a try.

Yet Sale came back after the break, taking advantage of Saracens lock Eoin Sherriff’s spell in the sin-
bin for foul play at the lineout in the 48th minute.

In Sheriff’s absence the home side were able to amass ten points courtesy of a try from Fraser
McKenzie, converted by Davies, and a penalty from Danny Cipriani.

But within two minutes of Sherriff’s re-introduction, Sarries scrum-half Ben Spencer put his side back
in front with a penalty.

However, Sale weren’t finished –Miller fired a penalty over the posts with seven minutes to go,
giving the Sharks only their third victory of the entire season.

With a potentially tough trip to Gloucester and their atmospheric Kingsholm ground next Saturday,
it’s hoped the Sharks can translate their cup form to the Aviva Premiership.

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