Paul Deacon has had a full week in charge of Sale Sharks, and despite losing his first game in the Heineken Cup last weekend, he has been enjoying the opportunity and the added responsibility.
The Sharks will look to respond this weekend when they host Edinburgh, who like them, lost their opening game of Pool 1 to LA Rochelle and need to bounce back with a win.
Despite the opening weekend defeat in the Heineken Cup, Sale head coach Paul Deacon was positive about the first week in his new role and said he’s been enjoying the challenge.
He said: “It was a whirlwind last week but honestly really enjoyed it and I’m really enjoying this week, I’m in a position now where I have to make tough decisions regarding team selection but it’s something I’m wholeheartedly looking forward to.”
He went on to say that nothing has changed his mind about wanting the job on a permanent basis.
He said: “No if anything it’s made me want it even more, it’s still early days, I’m a pretty laid back type of guy and realistic, obviously inexperienced in this role, it’s my first time doing it but so far so good from my point of view and I’m pleased with how it’s going.”
Reflecting on the defeat to Toulon in the Heineken Cup opening round last week, Deacon was happy with how his side responded late on after going two tries down either side of half-time.
He said: “The way we finished the game was very pleasing but I look back at the game and performance-wise we were pretty good, we just lacked the finishing touches at times.
“We had a couple of opportunities in their 22 early in the game and if we’d come away with a try there I think the game could have been a hell of a lot different.
“The scoreboard ran away from us, I thought a couple of penalties that they got six points from were 50-50, could have gone either way really.
“What I was pleased with was the way we stuck at it, we had an incline that they may tire in the last part of the game, the bench came on and did a great job for us and we scored some nice tries which was pleasing.
“Nobody here is happy when we lose but performance-wise if we keep on that track, I’m sure the results will turn for us.”
As Deacon’s attention turns to his second match in charge of Sale, he expects another tough test against Edinburgh who although have had a poor start to the season, now have the core of their team back from Scotland’s international duty.
He said: “I think everyone realises they lost quite a few international players and those guys are back, I think they had 11 at the weekend so we’re up against it.
“11 Scotland players is a hell of a lot internationally so it’s going to be a tough ask for us, they’re a real tough, well-drilled team with a great back row and they’re dangerous.
“Across the board we have to be good in every area.”
However, Deacon downplayed the significance of this game being more important than any other match.
He said: “It’s important to win at home, we want to win every game but I’m looking at the performance, where we can improve and the scoreboard will look after itself.
“Unfortunately we were on the wrong side of the scoreboard against Toulon but we want to build on the last 20, 25 minutes of that game going forward so the pressure there is for the players and myself and all the coaching staff to perform this week.”
🏟️ @EdinburghRugby visit the AJ Bell for the first time ever this weekend…
Whats the best European ground you've been too #SharksFamily? 🤔
Let us know below 👇 pic.twitter.com/Lh5ypC0YJG
— Sale Sharks 🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) December 16, 2020
In terms of team news, Deacon confirmed Tom Curry has had his two-week rest period after international duty with England and could be in contention to play this weekend.
Whilst Jono Ross had to leave the field against Toulon with a head injury and Deacon said that he won’t be available this weekend due to the concussion protocols but he is feeling fine and so we should expect him back soon.