Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond believes Jean-Luc du Preez’s red card was a ‘game-changer’ in his side’s 20-13 defeat to Worcester Warriors on Saturday.

Du Preez was dismissed just one minute before the break at Sixways, following a reckless shoulder charge which saw Warriors lock Graham Kitchener knocked unconscious.

Sale had taken a 10-3 lead before that red card and Diamond admitted that the decision was a big factor in his side’s eventual defeat.

He said: “I thought up until the red card we were getting in control of it. After that, I thought we did well to get a bonus point out of it.

“I’ve only seen one angle and the one I’ve seen, it’s not a red card. But I’ve not seen the other side which may make it look worse.

“It was a big game-changer, he’s a big fella to lose and it’s a disappointment to lose somebody for a silly red card.”

The defeat condemned Sale to a third defeat from their opening five Gallagher Premiership matches so far this season, but the Sharks boss says he knows where his side needs to improve.

He added: “We’ve just got to make sure that our basics and fundamentals are right. We managed with 14 men being run a mock for 10, 15 minutes and still managed to get some good turnovers, yet, we’re unable to win the last three line outs which could’ve give us the position to have another go.

“When you go down to 14 men, Faf De Klerk becomes a trailing defender in the backfield so he’s nowhere near as effective as he is coming out the line and trying to hit people.

“Your whole defensive game has to change and then that takes the legs out of you, so we never really got on the front foot.

“We’ve got to give credit to Worcester, they sucked us in they kicked the ball and then they found the space around the rucks, so I’ve got to say I’m happy with one point.”

Sale Sharks face Exeter Chiefs in the Heineken European Champions Cup on Sunday.

Image Credit: Sale Sharks

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