They say adversity only makes you stronger and the painful lessons Sale Sharks learned on the opening day of the season has been key to their turnaround – that’s according to wing Will Addison.
Reigning Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Saracens piled 41 points on Sale at Allianz Park, but that defeat has been left in the dust by Steve Diamond’s men.
Addison and in particular Sam James finished off two superb tries in a win built on the solidity of Sale’s pack – they are the only team to still have a 100 per cent scrum record on their own put-in.
The challenge now is to turn their imperious record at home to victories on the road, starting with Harlequins this weekend, and Addison says a fast start has been the focus over the last fortnight.
“It’s massive, especially as a reaction to how we performed in the first week of the season, getting the win against Worcester and then this was another building block in getting where we want to go,” said Addison.
"So we’re massively happy but it doesn’t end there as we know we’ve another challenge on Friday.
“We pride ourselves at being good at home, first and foremost so whoever comes up the road, be it Worcester or Northampton, we want to put a good performance on for the fans and that means getting the win.
“We were aware that we had beaten them twice in a row before but that didn’t factor too much into our preparation as we were only focused on winning at home.
“I think in any Premiership game the start’s the biggest part of it and we just got off to a better start and that was the end of it really.
“They selected a strong bench to come on and try to nullify what we achieved in the first half which worked to a certain degree but we’d already shown great enthusiasm and attitude in the that first half and I think that’s what won us the game.
“Those that came off the bench did a really good job for us in closing the game out. I can see where he’s coming from but I think it’s just priding ourselves on a great start and that was where the difference was.”
Along with full-back Mike Haley, 23-year-old Addison and 21-year-old James are part of a youthful back-line developing at Sale.
James’ try against Northampton was particularly impressive – chipping the ball over Stephen Myler’s head after collecting a great pass from Josh Beaumont – and the effort certainly captured the imagination of fellow scorer Addison.
“Sam’s was the best try, no doubt!” he added. “My one was more just practice from something we’ve been working on in pre-season – it’s just chasing kicks.
“It’s something the Welsh have done really well, chasing kicks, things that take no skill. It’s a 50/50 ball, you might come down with it and luckily I did.
“Sam’s one was real skill. We counter-attacked down the right, our forwards did well to get it to the edge leading to Josh Beaumont’s good pass but then to top it off a great piece of skill to finish it so no doubt that should be the Aviva Premiership’s try of the week.”
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