Premiership: Sale Sharks ‘not done’ as first title in 17 years edges ever closer

Adam Kyriacou
Sale Sharks scrum-half Raffi Quirke

Sale Sharks scrum-half Raffi Quirke.

Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson insists the club won’t be content unless they lift the Premiership trophy at Twickenham on May 27.

Sanderson was speaking after his side’s healthy 54-12 victory over Newcastle Falcons at the AJ Bell Stadium in the final round of the regular season.

The Sharks ran in eight tries on the day but now the focus shifts to hosting reigning champions Leicester Tigers in next weekend’s semi-final fixture.

17 years since last Premiership title

Sale last won the title in 2005/06 and Sanderson is keen for the club to end a 17-year wait for the silverware as they are now two games from glory.

“It has been a successful season, of course it has,” he said.

“We’ve been performing well and we’ve got a home semi-final, which we haven’t done for 17 years, so we’re happy about that.

“But we’re not content in saying ‘that’s us done’. We’re not done. We’ll be content when we bring home a cup.

“How other people judge it through the annals of time will become ‘were you or were you not champion material?’, and we’ll find that out now.

“There’s no place I’d rather be, no group I’d rather be with.”

Tom Roebuck, Sam James (2), Ben Curry, Bevan Rodd, Raffi Quirke and Arron Reed all scored on Saturday, with Sanderson happy with the showing.

“We made some good decisions,” he said.

“We put pride in the basics, the real simple things in the middle of the park, because the odd ball that bounces or turns into a turnover attack is probably going to be the opportunity that wins or loses that game.”

For Newcastle it was their 14th loss of the Premiership campaign and coach Mark Laycock admitted afterwards there is no hiding from what lies ahead.

Disappointed Falcons need to regroup

“We’ll regroup, there are a lot of things for us to learn and take forward,” he said.

“The group that we’ve got next year is very new so it will be a big challenge for us to look at what we’ve got in terms of our strengths, and try and work out what combinations work best for us and how we need to play to maximise that.

“We came down here with confidence that we could go and put something on Sale and unfortunately we didn’t really deliver the gameplan. We didn’t have enough physicality and intensity to match them.

“I thought they did exceptionally well in strangling us out of the game and best wishes to them in their semi-final.”

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