Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond is hoping to hit the ground running this evening in his side’s season opener against Northampton Saints as they look to build on last season’s achievements.
Just over a month ago, the Sharks were forced to forfeit the rest of their season and give up on the play-offs due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their camp and Diamond wants to make sure his side reach the top four at a minimum in the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership.
Diamond said: “I think the mindset in the building from me and the senior players is lets take every game as it comes.
“But with the squad and the coaching team that we’ve got here, we’ve got to be ambitious and be thinking top four.”
Despite their disappointing end to the season, Sale did bring home the Premiership Rugby Cup, their first silverware in 14 years and an achievement that Diamond wants to build on going into this season.
“I’d say it was the first time the club won silverware (in 14 years) – we won the Prem Cup, we were really combative throughout the season with a couple of blips and for reasons which are obvious, we didn’t play the last fixture, which even if we had lost, we would have received a bonus point loss and finished in the top four.
“We’ve got a very good squad and we all seem to know what we’re doing. We’re on the same page and lets just crack on with Northampton and see where we go, it’s as simple as that really.”
ᴛᴇᴀᴍ ɴᴇᴡꜱ 🦈
💪 The Du Preez power in the pack!
🎩 The Magician's at half back
🔥 Stop that midfield
— Sale Sharks 🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) November 19, 2020
Looking to the Saints fixture, Sale beat tonight’s opponents three times last season – their most recent coming in the Sharks’ last game of the 2019/20 campaign.
Speaking on the Northampton game, Diamond added: “We look at their strengths and weaknesses to a certain extent but all we do really is concentrate on what we’re doing ourselves.
“We know we’ve got to get our basics right, we’ve got to keep the ball and play in the right areas of the field.
“We’ve set a couple targets in areas, one is going to be our goalkicking, one’s going to be on our scrum and the last is about our discipline.
“If we can work on those areas like I think we can do, then we’ll be highly competitive and it’s going to have to be a good team to beat us.”
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints kicks off at 20:00 BST at an empty AJ Bell Stadium this evening.