Premiership: Alex Sanderson admits to ‘harsh words’ despite dominant win for Sale over Leicester

Alex Sanderson Sale Sharks director of rugby Leicester Premiership 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Alex Sanderson Sale Sharks director of rugby Leicester Premiership 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Despite a strong start in Friday’s Premiership clash at the AJ Bell Stadium against defending champions Leicester Tigers, Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson wanted more from his side at half-time.

Sale held a 16-0 lead at the interval after Tom O’Flaherty scored a try while Robert du Preez added a conversion and three penalties.

Dominant performance

And although Leicester struck back via a Handre Pollard try shortly after the restart, the home side continued to dominate a clinched a 40-5 victory after Simon McIntyre, Ewan Ashman, and Du Preez crossed the whitewash, and they were also awarded a penalty try.

The result means that Sale have narrowed the gap between them and leaders Saracens at the top of the Premiership standings to five points.

“Despite that, we still had a few harsh words at half-time, but by the end we were dominant,” said Sanderson.

“Set-pieces were the difference I thought, particularly early on. We really gave it everything with the first couple of scrums and mauls.

“That set the precedent for us and gave us a good, solid platform to build on.

“We needed to rest Sam James last week, he’s been feeling a bit of fatigue, so needed a break. He was brilliant tonight, though.

“He’s an unbelievable athlete, and he can do most things on a rugby field. He’s really effective.

“That was a really good way to end the year and an even better way to end Joe Simpson’s year.

“We’re delighted for him to finish off with a big win, he’s been a great leader throughout his career, and his experience has been invaluable to us in the time he’s been here.

“We all wish him all the best with whatever is next.”

Tigers interim head coach Richard Wigglesworth believes missed opportunities from his players in the first half led to their downfall.

“It’s disappointing of course, but we knew the challenges we’d face here,” he said.

“Sale are a top side, but we did start the game with quality and aggression.

“We didn’t take the chances we created, though, and when you’re looking at a 16-0 deficit at half-time, it’s a long way back.

“The injuries started to pile up in the second half, and that was to prove costly in the end.

“It felt a bit like we were on the back foot for most of the second half.

Costly defeat for Tigers

“The injuries are concerning for us, but at least that opens opportunities for others now – that’s how we’ve got to look at it.

“There were players playing out of position in the end, but players were doing things they shouldn’t necessarily be doing, and this is what happens.

“Sale are a quality side, and they’re up where they are in the table for a reason.

“Fair play to them, they made life extremely difficult for us on a tough night.”

READ MORE: Premiership: Sale Sharks hammer Leicester Tigers as they put 40 points on defending champions

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