Sale Sharks had a rare off-day at Leicester Tigers last weekend but such had been their run of form up to that point, for Tom Arscott and company to be so disappointed is a measure of how far they’ve come.
Slaying the Tigers at Welford Road is never an easy prospect yet Sale were very much a team on the rise after
three Aviva Premiership Rugby wins on the spin – including triumphs against last season’s finalists Northampton Saints and Saracens.
And though the Sharks were soundly beaten last weekend in seventh they are very much hanging onto the coat-tails of the top half of the table, with just five points separating them and second-place Saracens.
Steve Diamond’s men how head to top four rivals Bath Rugby on Friday and Arscott is well aware that with just six rounds to go, victory could vault them even further into contention.
“The overriding emotion is disappointment,” he said. “We had a few wins going into that game and we were going down there expecting to perform well and make it a close game.
“We didn’t really turn up on the day. We got outmuscled a little bit and Leicester had a lot of possession.
“You can’t really defend for that long without cracking and that’s what happened ultimately. We were down a lot at half-time and we knew we hadn’t performed.
“We knew we had to try to change things and get that first score, which I think we did. We got ourselves back in the game a little bit but there were a few decisions here and there and we let the game slip away from us.
“We had three wins going into that one so we were on a bit of a roll, a bit of momentum so it was just a disappointing performance.
“The league is tight this year so with one win you can jump up a few places. It was disappointing not to win but now we’ve just got to look at this weekend against Bath to try to put things right.”
And though the race for the semi-finals is not quite in their hands Arscott, who has scored eight Aviva Premiership Rugby tries this season, believes Sale can fulfil their side of the bargain should other teams trip up.
“We only need to worry about ourselves and hopefully results might go our way one weekend and we’ll be able to push ourselves up the table a little,” he added. “But to do that we have to win our games first.
“We have get our individual game right, game our performances down and play to our strengths as a team.
“If we can do that then we can push teams all the way, whether it’s home or away, whether it’s a top four side or not.”
Each month Aviva is giving fans their say on who deserves to win the coveted Aviva Premiership Rugby Player of the Month award with the chance to win four tickets to an Aviva Premiership Rugby game of their choice! Become the 10th judge and vote by visiting www.aviva.co.uk/10thjudge open until midnight on Thursday 5 March