Sale Sharks took a bonus point win over Pau in the European Challenge Cup, grinding out their fourth try in the closing seconds of the game.
Tries from Mark Jennings, Viliami Fihaki and Brian Mujati and wunderkind Sam James gave the hosts the victory but not before they were given a few scares by the fleet-footed Pau side.
Steve Diamond praised his side’s patience and composure and said he was pleased to take the victory.
“I was satisfied with the win, you’ve got to win your home games in this competition and pick up the odd bonus point away from home to stand the best chance of qualifying,” he said.
“That’s the route we’ve decided to take and credit to the side for stopping Pau getting a losing bonus point at the end.
“We were very patient in parts of the game so I was pleased about that really.
“I thought Mark Jennings had a good game, he keeps Sam Tuitupou on his toes and I thought Joe Ford did well, but the whole squad did well to secure the win.”
Diamond admitted that facing Simon Mannix’s side on their home ground will be a tougher proposition.
“I think they looked after us pretty well there, they looked after our driving maul, which not many sides have done,” he said.
“They will certainly be a tough side to take on at their place in January.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s Aviva Premiership return, Diamond described the Pau clash as good preparation to face Newcastle.
“They’ll be a test, but we are a tough team to beat at home, and we want that mentality heading into the game,” he said.
Try-scorer James was optimistic following his team’s performance, highlighting the promise of the academy-developed youngsters making up the backline.
“It comes from the training pitch, our backline on Saturday as a whole was really young,” he said.
“We all work on each-others inside and we all want to play for each other.”
James crossed over for his first try in Europe, making it three tries in four games for the Sharks, but modestly described his good form as a lucky streak.
“I thought last week we were a bit unlucky with the way we played as things didn’t come off for us but it’s good to go through to the Aviva Premiership now with a win.”
Image courtesy of Bein Sports via YouTube, with thanks.