Fixtures - Top Bar

Braid: Diamond’s message is crystal clear

Steve Diamond’s message for Sale Sharks has been to keep it simple and after back-to-back Aviva Premiership Rugby victories, skipper Dan Braid insists less is most definitely more.

Jekyll & Hyde best sums up Sharks’ opening to the season, with wins over Wasps and London Welsh quickly followed by heavy defeats to Saracens and Northampton Saints.

But something has clearly clicked since Aviva Premiership Rugby returned from its LV= Cup window, after backing up a dominant performance over London Irish with their first victory in eight goes against Harlequins.

Those results have shunted Sale back into the chasing pack as just two points separate Diamond’s men, Leicester Tigers, Wasps and Quins in mid-table.

A third win in three up at Newcastle Falcons this weekend would really set tongues wagging – and Braid says their upturn in form has been a case of getting back to basics.

“We’ve really fronted up in two games and dominated sides physically,” said Braid, who scored the winning try against Quins. “We really regrouped over two weeks in the LV=Cup and fixed our set pieces.

“Dimes (Diamond) has simplified things again and our scrum’s come good, with our lineout we know what we’re doing but it’s just about executing our throw. It’s about doing the simple things well.

“We came under a little bit more pressure against a smart team like Harlequins but we managed it and I think our attitude and our defence in that game really got us through.

“This block of three, we’ve really targeted this knowing that we needed to get the wins here. At least two out of three.  

“You want to perform in every game that you play in, with the two European games, you can really lose some confidence if you don’t go out well and perform in those games. So we’ve got to make sure that we front up there.

“But we sat down at the start of the season and said the Premiership really is our focus and that’s what we want to do well in. This Christmas period is massive, just one away game and then two home games that we really need to win.”

Though Sale’s recipe may be simple Danny Cipriani has been the mystery ingredient from fly-half, with England choosing not to call upon his services this autumn.

And Braid believes that while the 27-year-old’s continued presence at the AJ Bell is England’s loss, it is ultimately his side’s gain.

He added: “It’s unfortunate for Cips that he hasn’t been picked and put in there because I think in that structure and in that team he could offer a lot.  But to have him here playing so well and driving the game is massive.

“Mike Haley’s come in and with Luke McLean being away he’s really gone well at full-back. Will Cliff’s really stepped up at half back as well which creates competition in the positions.”

This Christmas, Premiership Rugby is offering fans a special gift with selected tickets for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Click here to find out about this limited offer.

Latest News

England Rugby squad update

Bath Rugby's Anthony Watson is a step closer to making his England return after being one of 24 players retained…

Anthony Watson

Piutau hoping West Country derby brings the best out of Bristol Rugby

Bristol Rugby centre Siale Piutau admits there is no better way for his side to bounce back from a bruising…

Mark Jennings: In-form Sale Sharks can topple Saracens

Sale Sharks’ Mark Jennings believes his in-form side are now reaping the fruits of their tough European campaign – and…

Zach Mercer to lead England U20 against Italy

England Under 20 have made eight changes to the starting line-up for their Six Nations match against Italy at the…

Will Witty targets top six as Newcastle Falcons push continues

Newcastle Falcons are enjoying their best season in over a decade and lock Will Witty believes a top-six finish is…

Round 16 Preview: Bristol Rugby v Bath Rugby

Bristol Rugby’s only two victories in Aviva Premriship Rugby this season came in successive matches, against Worcester and Sale over…

Bristol v Bath

Ticket sales for Derby Day at Wembley hit 50,000

Ticket sales for this year’s Derby Day spectacle between Saracens and Harlequins at Wembley Stadium have now hit 50,000! The…

Wembley

Round 16 Preview: Wasps v Gloucester Rugby

Wasps are without a win in their last four first team fixtures since beating Zebre in Parma in the Champions…

Wasps v Gloucester

Referee appointments: Dean Richards takes charge of 91st Aviva Premiership Rugby clash

Referee Dean Richards will move ever closer to a century of Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this weekend, as he takes…

Round 16 Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons

Exeter Chiefs only defeat in their last ten first team matches was at Clermont-Auvergne in the European Champions Cup on…

Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons

Round 16 Preview: Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors

Northampton Saints have slipped to successive Aviva Premiership Rugby defeats at Bath and at Newcastle but have not lost three…

Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors

Jack Wilson extends stay with Bath Rugby

Jack Wilson has extended his stay with Bath Rugby until at least 2019, the Club are delighted to confirm. The…

Jack Wilson

Guy Mercer relishing Bath Rugby’s rigorous preparation this term

Bath Rugby club captain Guy Mercer believes meticulous planning has laid the foundations for a successful end to the season.…

Newcastle Falcons sign Canadian try machine DTH van der Merwe

Newcastle Falcons have added another proven top-level try-scorer to their squad with the news that Canada and Scarlets wing DTH…

DTH van der Merwe

Round 16 Preview: Saracens v Sale Sharks

Saracens are without a win in their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures and have not gone four in a…

Saracens v Sale Sharks

Round 16 Preview: Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Harlequins are one of only two sides with a 100 per cent home winning record in Aviva Premiership Rugby this…

Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Phil Swainston joins Harlequins from Wasps

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 22nd February), the signing of Wasps tighthead prop Phil Swainston, who will join…

Phil Swainston

BT Sport and ITV coverage of Aviva Premiership Rugby

A breathless round of Aviva Premiership Rugby action last week saw records smashed, underdogs triumph, and tries galore with a…

Live TV matches on BT Sport for Round 21

Premiership Rugby can confirm that Harlequins’ crucial clash with Wasps in the penultimate round of Aviva Premiership Rugby has been chosen…

Wasps v Harlequins