Premiership: Alex Sanderson happy with Sale’s second half improvement against Newcastle

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson said it was pleasing to see his side’s second-half improvement during Friday night’s bonus-point 35-27 triumph against Newcastle Falcons at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The Sharks kept their faint play-off hopes alive after tries in second-half from Ben Curry, Simon Hammersley and Ewan Ashman swung the game in their favour.

Trailed at half-time

The home side battled to get going though as the Falcons held a 15-14 lead at the interval with George McGuigan and Joel Hodgson crossing the whitewash for them while a brace of tries from Akker van der Merwe kept Sale in the contest.

Sanderson conceded that his team were not at their best during the opening stanza.

“We did well tonight,” he said. “I didn’t think we were necessarily trying to preserve ourselves in any way during the first half, but we weren’t quite there I suppose.

“We’ve talked about the Racing game during the week of course, and subconsciously it was there in the back of our minds I thought in the first half.

“You can’t really help that. We improved in the second half, though.

“We proved that we can move up the levels, and we need to maintain those levels for next weekend. We also scored some decent tries on the night too, which was pleasing.”

Shortly after half-time, Curry and Mateo Carreras crossed for tries which meant the match was still evenly poised but Sale eventually took control of proceedings courtesy of tries from Simon Hammersley and Ewan Ashman.

Sale did not surrender and secured a losing bonus point when Matias Orlando crossed for their fourth try in injury time.

Sanderson is eager for his side to maintain their momentum as they head into their Champions Cup quarter-final against Racing 92 in Paris next Sunday.

“We’ll need all the ability and the energy we showed tonight when we head to France,” he said.

“We had a few lads out being tactically rested here tonight, so we’ll be at pretty much full strength.

“Certainly no-one in our camp thinks we can’t win over there next week.”

Despite their defeat, Falcons boss Dean Richards was happy with his side’s display and it will motivate to pick up points during their last two matches against Premiership table-toppers Leicester Tigers and fourth-placed Northampton Saints.

“We competed well again, and I was pleased with the performance,” said Richards.

“Anyone who thought that we were going to come here and roll over and die has to think again.

“That was never going to happen and I think that showed.

“We certainly don’t want to finish bottom of the league standings, and that’s now motivation in itself to go on and win our last two games.

“Joel Hodgson played well, as did Mateo Carreras and Matias Orlando, and overall the whole team put in a shift.

“I can’t ask for any more than that.”

READ MORE: Premiership: Chris Boyd delighted with Northampton’s resilience after win over Harlequins

The article Premiership: Alex Sanderson happy with Sale’s second half improvement against Newcastle appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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