Sale Sharks

After a convincing start to the Gallagher Premiership last weekend, Sale Sharks will look to build on the win as they travel to newly-promoted Newcastle Falcons. 

Sale will make the long trip up north to face Newcastle at the Kingston Park Stadium this Friday evening as they look to make it two wins from two and keep up their playoff push.

Looking ahead to the game, Sale’s Director of rugby Steve Diamond was focused on his side rather than worrying too much about the opposition.

He stated: “well to be honest the way we operate we don’t really look at the opposition too much, we obviously try and watch the games but we try to concentrate on ourselves.

“What the side that generally come up do is have a good start, London Irish have beat Harlequins when they come up, fortunately if the enthusiasm stays with them they do really well but if it doesn’t then they end up finding a level.

“Newcastle aren’t one of them, they finished 4th the year before {their relegation}, they’ve got a good squad, their well-coached and you need your hot water bottle generally when you play them as well!”

The Sharks began the new campaign with a win last Friday, beating Northampton Saints 32-23 in an entertaining game at the AJ Bell and the Sharks played some eye-catching rugby.

Diamond was encouraged by the way his side played against the Saints despite some poor discipline.

He said: “Our discipline let us down a bit but defensively we were very good, set-piece went well, and attack we had 80% conversion when we got into their 22 which was good.

“Even though we finished 5th last year, our conversion rate in the final 22 was about 30% so it’s a big thing over the month that we had a look at.”

Newcastle have had a positive return to life in the top flight after a one-year absence, beating last season’s play-off semi-finalists Bath last weekend.

However, Diamond didn’t see the win as much of an upset, saying: “I wasn’t surprised, they had lost many pre-season games but it matters in the league. It’s difficult to win at Bath, I can’t remember the last time I did it.”

In what was a challenging and emotional week for Diamond personally after the death of his mother, he reflected upon how sudden the death was for him but also how his mother helped to mold him as a person.

He said: “my mum passed away last Thursday and yeah she’s played a big part in my life, she was 85, she had a good innings but she was driving a car three days before she died and it was a very short illness.

“She worked all her life until she was 75, ran the local rugby club and there are lots of people my age, younger and older who looked to her for that reason.

“I think she was there 20 odd years so yeah a proper matriarch and you don’t want anyone to leave but if it’s very short and very quick, I think it was probably the best way to go.”

However, he didn’t see it as extra motivation going forward for him personally, saying: “That’s over-egging it. if I’m honest the way I deal with the players is the way I was brought up, my dad died when I was 15 so my mothers been on her own for virtually 40 years and that’s a tough life I think.

“In the world that we live in people could take a leaf out of those days and how people lived and how people were resilient and that’s what I’ve always taken.

“The thing I take most is how we were brought up with tough love and to go to work at 13, 14 at restaurants, milk jobs, on the farm locally picking potatoes, picking carrots.

“So we had an upbringing which some people wouldn’t like but every Saturday, Sunday, everybody was working as kids, so I instill that same drive into my kids and into the lads that work for us.”

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