Premiership: Alex Sanderson praises the influence of ‘calm’ George Ford in semi-final win

Dylan Coetzee
Premiership: Sale Sharks George Ford looks on

Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson praised the influence of fly-half George Ford after the star steered his side into the Premiership final with a 21-13 win over Leicester Tigers on Sunday.

The victory means Sale reach their first Premiership final in 17 years. It was a tight affair for most of the clash, with Ford’s ever-impressive rugby intelligence shining through in key moments.

Stuck to the plan

Sanderson was pleased with how his team stuck to their processes and plans whilst even improving their execution as the game went on.

“They are a special group, these boys. They had to drink deep from the well today,” Sanderson said.

“They stuck to the task, and George Ford drove that – a little pocket of calm amid the chaos.

“You need to be physically up to the task; you need a heart, you have really got to want it. What more can you ask for?

“I am proud of how they stuck at it and just got better at the basics as the game went on.”

With the defending champions crashing out, there will be a new winner this season as Sale face Saracens in the final in a fortnight.

Ben Curry set to miss the final

Sanderson may have to deal with the loss of influential leader Ben Curry, who succumbed to a hamstring problem during the game.

Curry is set to get a scan to determine the extent of the damage, but the coach does not expect him to return for the final.

Sanderson added: “He will get a scan tomorrow. He is on crutches, and he got carried off. We will see tomorrow, but I doubt if he will make the final.

“I spent the major part of my life down there with those guys (at Saracens), but I am so engrained in this here that it feels like I have been here forever. It adds a little bit more spice.”

Meanwhile, Leicester Tigers interim head coach Richard Wigglesworth admits his side just could not find a way to get an edge in a tight game.

Wigglesworth said: “It was a close game, small margins. We just couldn’t find the advantage to tip it in our favour.

“We stuck in the contest, and we can’t fault the spirit and fight in the group.

“I am incredibly proud to have been asked to lead this group. I am so grateful for how they (Leicester) have treated me.”

The side had to deal with the late withdrawal of Springbok Handre Pollard, who Wigglesworth says is struggling with a calf issue.

He added: “We only made that call this morning.

“Handre hadn’t trained for the last couple of training days. It was a calf issue, which is incredibly painful, but it can also clear up at a moment’s notice.”

READ MORE: Premiership: Five takeaways from Sale Sharks v Leicester Tigers as Alex Sanderson’s men win game of fine margins