European Professional Club Rugby | Sanderson expects Sale improvement in second leg

Alex Sanderson could not hide his frustration after Sale Sharks’ 10-9 home defeat to the Bristol Bears in the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16.

Sale’s director of rugby felt his side should have had the game won before Semi Radradra’s decisive try for Bristol at 69 minutes, but he’s promising a much-improved display in Friday’s second leg.

Sanderson told Channel 4: “I’m not bothered about the result, honestly. It’s the performance.

“Our inability to keep the ball in attack for more than two or three phases and our poor discipline post the collision.

“In the first half we gave them all the piggy backs.

“Radradra has got that in him, but it shouldn’t even come to that in terms of the result.”

Sale could manage only three penalties from the boot of Robert du Preez, but Sanderson felt they should have made more of their chances.

He said, “We had the opportunity, but we just couldn’t keep the ball.

“We need to work on our fundamentals. It’s a simple ball placement and urgency from the inside.

“We just didn’t get enough right today enough of the time to give us sustained pressure to convert territory into points.

“Our best attacking rugby was when we didn’t have a nine on the field, which is saying something.

“So I’m just frustrated. We didn’t fire a shot really. We’ll come back next week and do just that. ”

Sale may still feature in the Gallagher Premiership play-offs, but Sanderson says they can go much further in the Heineken Champions Cup.

He said: “We intend to go deep in this competition.

“There’s a point in this tie, so it’s neither here nor there. We’ll go down there to win the game next week.

“One point doesn’t make a difference either way.”

One silver lining for Sale and Sanderson was the return of Manu Tuilagi from injury, with the England center appearing as a 49th-minute replacement.

Sanderson said, “He’s going to be massive for us.

“Manu is going to play a big part in the second leg.

“Getting him through the game, getting him fit, getting him more minutes than he had last week.

“He will be raring to go again.”

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