Sale Sharks interim head coach Paul Deacon saluted his players’ “commitment to the cause” after they toppled Gloucester 22-19 at Kingsholm.
Substitute Josh Beaumont’s late try ended a run of three defeats in domestic and European competition since Deacon took the reins following rugby director Steve Diamond’s departure.
“I thought the lads showed commitment to the cause, team spirit, all those clichés. It was all there to see,” Deacon said.
“The game could have gone either way. I am sure Gloucester are feeling hard done by, and I probably would have done if we had lost.
“It’s fantastic to get the four points, but there are still things to improve on.”
The closing minutes were overshadowed by a mass brawl that spilled over the touchline and ended with Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees being sin-binned and a member of Sale’s support staff sent to the stand.
Deacon added: “Emotions boil over, and I think a lot of people make it a bigger issue than it actually is.
“Emotions run over then, but I don’t think there was anything untoward, really. It just didn’t look great.”
Billy Twelvetrees versus a Sale waterboy is the sort of Yuletide battle we can all get behind. https://t.co/4V70xPQkY0
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 2, 2021
AJ MacGinty kicked 17 points for Sale, but first-half tries by prop Fraser Balmain and wing Louis Rees-Zammit appeared to set Gloucester up for victory, while fly-half Lloyd Evans booted three penalties.
But Gloucester were denied during the closing moments, and they remain bottom of the Gallagher Premiership after dropping there just hours before kick-off when Worcester were awarded four points due to their coronavirus-related cancelled game against Harlequins.
Deacon said: “We are after consistency, and I thought today we gave an 80-minute performance.
“It’s great to win. That’s why you put the work in every week. It’s nice to get the first win, and on to next week. We will keep working hard and keep trying to improve.
“Exeter are the benchmark at the minute, and rightly so, but it is very congested, as it always is in the Premiership. There are no easy games.”
Gloucester’s latest Premiership defeat came after they had led 16-6 just before half-time and looked well set.
“If I am honest, I thought the boys played pretty well and executed well on the plan,” Gloucester head coach George Skivington said.
“With 10 minutes to go we were in a good spot.
“I thought there was a really poor decision at scrum time. Our front-row came on and drove straight through Sale.
“It was given the other way, so I will be very interested to hear the context of that because it was a big swing in the game.
“It is what it is, you can’t do anything about it. It’s just a poor decision.”
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