SALE Sharks attack coach Paul Deacon insisted AJ MacGinty deserves more plaudits, following the fly-half’s man of the match performance in the team’s first European Rugby Challenge Cup win of the season.

Deacon was in charge of Sale for Saturday’s 24-0 victory against Cardiff Blues at the AJ Bell, as has been the case in the team’s earlier European Rugby Challenge Cup matches this season.

Deacon said: “I think AJ gave what he gives every week. He’s a consistent player, a very solid number 10, and I think he’s underrated in my opinion.

“He does a lot of good stuff for the team. He distributes well, controls games well, tackles as well as any player on the field and kicks his goals.

“I think AJ has been doing that consistently well all season and I think massive credit should go to him and Will Cliff for the way they controlled the game.

“Cliffy’s box-kicks were really clever and AJ’s game-management decisions and kicking were excellent.”

MacGinty’s boot was the source for 14 of Sale’s 24 points in the match and it was three penalties from the USA international that gave the hosts a 9-0 lead at halftime.

The fly-half has also shown his consistency with the boot in Sale’s Aviva premiership campaign. He has the second highest success rate of any player to have kicked more than five goals in the league and is one of only two players from last season’s top ten to be there again.

MacGinty was keen to highlight the contributions of his teammates on Saturday though: “Mike Haley at the back and the wings did a really good job of taking those high balls, contesting for them and then getting some good gain line off the back of that to put us in a good position to kick straight back to them.

“It was probably not a very exciting games in terms of the attack, but it’s an important game to win for us and an important way to win for us as well, in bad conditions.”

Following Saturday’s result, Sale sit third in Pool 2 and could potentially go top with a win in their return fixture against Cardiff on Sunday.

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