Why Alex Sanderson was left ‘torn’ despite six-try win over Newcastle

Dylan Coetzee
Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson looks on before a Premiership clash.

Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson

Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson admits there is “an underlying sense of frustration” despite beating Newcastle 40-22 on Friday night.

The clash was tighter than the scoreline suggested, with two late tries from Sam James and Tom Roebuck dramatically increasing the deficit in the last five minutes.

Before then, Newcastle ran Sale close with tries from Louis Brown, Callum Chick, Bryan Byrne and Iwan Stephens, keeping their team in the game.

“Let’s just enjoy the win”

Sanderson wants his team to enjoy the win before they regroup next week and take a closer look at what transpired in the game.

“I’m torn between an underlying sense of frustration and how the game was as tight as it was, for as long as it was,” the Sale boss said.

“But as I said to the boys post-game, let’s just enjoy the win, enjoy the weekend and enjoy being top of the table.

“We’ll understand on Monday what it takes to stay there, because that’s the aspiration.

“There were elements of the game which were very good, but we were too inconsistent in terms of an 80-minute performance.

“I think the boys know that. I can see it in their eyes and that’s why I said to them after the game to just leave it for now, otherwise they will carry it all weekend and it will spoil what little rest they do have.

“It gives us something to work on come Monday as we’re nowhere near the finished product yet.

“We ground out a win that looked comfortable. It was squeaky bum time at 65 minutes, it really was, but they dug in, and we found a way through by getting a bit more set-piece dominance.”

Dual emotions

Meanwhile, Newcastle head coach Alex Codling was proud of how his team played against a good Sale side but admits there is a sense of frustration that they could not make their strong position count.

Codling said: “I’ve got two overriding emotions. One is immense pride, we were 10-5 up after 28 minutes, then 26-10 down after 40 minutes and we were staring down the barrel at that point – but our response in the second half was incredible.

“I thought our resilience, our tenacity and our togetherness was outstanding. But for a few kicks, we would have been ahead at that point around the hour mark.

“The other emotion I’m left with is just a bit of frustration at the end, because people who haven’t watched the game will see that scoreline and think we’ve been battered, but it’s been anything but.”

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