‘We will regroup’: Sale Sharks refuse to dwell on defeat and eye LV= Cup success after Cardiff Blues heartache

By Ed Owen

Sale Sharks head coach Bryan Redpath was keen to focus on future challenges after an away defeat to Cardiff condemned his side to the bottom of their Heineken Cup group.

With blizzards rocking Arms Park the Sharks received a frosty reception, as an inspired kicking performance from Leigh Halfpenny inflicted a 16-24 defeat upon the Sharks.

But the ex-Gloucester boss – reinstated as head coach after John Mitchell’s departure – refused to dwell on the defeat, instead looking forward to Saturday’s LV= Cup clash against Llanelli Scarlets.

Redpath said: “We will regroup on Monday morning and prepare the team for the important LV=Cup game against Scarlets at Salford City Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“We are well placed in our group and we are looking to get a win then travel to Wasps to try and get a result there to qualify for the semi-finals.”

And the 41-year-old was left seething after referee Peter Fitzgibbon ruled out a potentially match-turning try from Mark Jennings in the first half.

Jennings pounced on a loose ball Blues ball and went over, only for Fitzgibbon to consult the line judge and rule the ball hadn’t been grounded, stumping Redpath.

“I thought the referee ruled out a perfectly good try,” he said afterwards. “He initially awarded the try but then ruled it out after consulting his Touch Judge.”

“We had our opportunities. We had loads of pressure and the chances to win, but there were a couple of defensive errors we lapsed on and gifted 12 to 15 points for them.”

The performance capped off a disappointing Heineken Cup campaign for Sale – unable to beat a team six-game losing in European competition, they fell to last place behind their hosts.

Yet Sale started brightest in the Welsh cold – Tommy Taylor’s try from a rolling maul put the first points on the board inside three minutes.

But even with Rob Miller’s conversion, Sale’s lead was cut down by a series of penalties from Leigh Halfpenny, making the score 7-9 at half-time.

The second half made for similar viewing – despite Aston Croall going over in the opening minute, the Blues ran in two more tries, both ably converted by Halfpenny.

And the Welsh international put the gloss on the result with another penalty at the death, increasing his tally to 16 points and sealing Sale’s fate.

Sale play the Scarlets this Saturday at home in the LV= Cup before the domestic campaign resumes against London Wasps at Adams Park.

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