Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond claimed the sending-off of lock Jean-Luc du Preez might not have been justified after the Sharks went down 20-13 to Worcester Warriors at Sixways.
In attempting a clear-out, Du Preez put his shoulder into the face of Worcester’s Graham Kitchener, who needed medical attention, and after a number of replays, the South African was shown the red card.
Diamond said: “In fairness, I’ve only seen the incident from one angle and it didn’t look a red card but it may look worse from other angles.
“I thought they should have had a yellow card when Duncan Weir crashed into Faf de Klerk, three seconds after he had touched down for our first try.”
Sale were leading 10-3 when Du Preez was dismissed with Chris Ashton and De Klerk scoring their tries.
Against 14 men, Worcester were able to take control with Perry Humphreys and Ashley Beck touching down.
Weir converted both of them and added two penalties before AJ MacGinty’s late three-pointer gave Sale a losing bonus-point.
Diamond added: “The dismissal was a big game changer as I thought we were in control of the game and it was frustrating to lose the big fella (Du Preez) to such an innocuous clear-out.
“We stuck in there and won some good turnovers but we need to manage the basics better although I’m happy with a bonus-point.”
MATCH REPORT | #YourSharks take a losing bonus point from Worcester Warriors after a Jean-Luc du Preez red card proves the catalyst in a tough afternoon for Sale.
— Sale Sharks🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) November 30, 2019
Worcester director of rugby Alan Solomons revealed he gave his side firm instructions at half-time.
He said: “I told them it was like playing with the wind. You can’t just rely on the fact that they’ve gone down to 14 men to win the game as you still have to maintain your structures.
“We stressed that we had to get field position, hold onto the ball and the points would come, which they did.
“I’m chuffed to bits as it was a very important game for us. There were two very physical sides out there and it was a pretty edgy affair with both teams making a lot of errors early on.
“Our set-piece was impressive and it was a good performance across the board.”
Worcester’s win took them up to fourth in the Premiership table and Solomons added: “We’ve only played five games so there’s a long way to go but I’m delighted at what we’ve achieved so far.”