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Diamond excuses low frills 6-3

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'You've got bad weather... and three of the best fetchers in the competition slowing the ball down'

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond praised the Curry brothers’ breakdown influence after they defeated Bath 6-3 to retain hopes of finishing in the top-four. Tom was named man of the match after a fine display, while Ben also contributed plenty at the contact area.

Although the former has already received 10 caps, the latter has not been involved in England squads over the past 18 months – but Diamond does not believe there is anything to choose between them. He said: “Don’t let anybody tell me there’s a difference between those Currys, there isn’t. They’re both outstanding.”

The brothers’ battle with Bath’s Sam Underhill provided an intriguing subplot and Diamond insisted the abilities of those players contributed to the attacks misfiring. He explained: “You’ve got bad weather, you’ve got Underhill, you’ve got the Currys; you’ve got three of the best fetchers in the competition who are trying to slow the ball down.

“You’re not going to get a free-flowing game with that. Coupled with ill-discipline and errors, it was a tale of two sides not delivering at the highest level but, at the end of the day, it’s an ugly win and we’ll
take it.”

Following Northampton’s triumph over Newcastle at Kingston Park, the Sharks are three points behind the Midlanders, who occupy the final top-four position. That may change with Harlequins and Wasps playing on Saturday – but Sale could still sneak into the play-off places.

Diamond is not setting any particular targets, however, and is only looking at their next encounter. He added: “To be fair, all we’ve said over the last eight weeks is the old adage of, ‘let’s take each one (as it comes).’ There was no point looking at Bristol or Gloucester (before this game), let’s just try and get four points.

“We’re not in bonus-point mentality – we’ve only scored two bonus-point wins all year – so, for some reason, our attack isn’t flash, but our defence is very good.”

Sale’s victory moved them above Bath in the table, who dropped down to eighth as a result, and the visitors’ boss Todd Blackadder blamed ill-discipline for their inability to claim the win. He said: “The work that’s going in, the performances aren’t reflecting that but, on the back of it, the discipline is just killing us.

“We go from being in good field position, have a really good lineout and then we give three penalties away. They’re the easy outs. They’re the silly little things which aren’t going to win you rugby games. We didn’t play enough in the Sale 22 and when we did we didn’t really apply enough pressure. We coughed it up way too easily.”

WATCH: Part two of The Academy, the RugbyPass documentary series on Leicester Tigers

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'You've got bad weather... and three of the best fetchers in the competition slowing the ball down'