Sale Sharks 38 – 5 Dragons: Diamond’s men strike gold to top Challenge Cup group

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond is confident his team can improve on their first wholly dominant performance of the season after setting up a home European Challenge Cup quarter-final.

Tries from Brian Mujati, Nev Edwards, Mike Haley, skipper and new England recruit Josh Beaumont as well as a penalty try from the pack helped the hosts chalk up their second bonus point win of the tournament while knocking Newport Gwent Dragons off top spot.

Dominance in the Sharks’ forwards, as well as brilliance from the backs orchestrated by fly-half Danny Cipriani allowed Sale to see the game out in style, a weapon missing until recently from their arsenal.

“I think we’ve got something about us at the minute, some of our back play was so exciting and Danny was fantastic,” said director of rugby Steve Diamond.

“It’s easier when you’re playing on the front foot and the forwards were excellent.

“It’s the first time we’ve put a side to bed really: we’re confident in our own abilities and tonight lots of things came together for us.”

Diamond recognised the performances put in by the Sharks’ Academy graduates, who once again proved their worth in the senior squad.

“With Josh Beaumont skippering, we’ve got a lot of young kids who care deeply about the team,” he said.

“In the last ten minutes we were down to 14 men, and you wouldn’t have noticed the way we were playing.

“I’m really pleased for the team and I think we can get even better.”

The Sharks’ boss added that historically his team tend to do well in the Premiership when they play well in the European Challenge Cup tournament.

Sale could even face a rematch with the Dragons, who are already guaranteed a place in the last eight as one of the best runners-up.

“We knew we had a different psychology to the Dragons, who had to travel up here and were already qualified – we hadn’t qualified and everything to play for,” said Diamond.

“If we do face the Dragons again then I’m sure this game will have no bearing on what happens in April.

“We are proud of home record this season and we will carry that confidence into the rest of the season.”

Image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.

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