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European Round-Up: Sale Sharks secure home quarter-final

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Steve Diamond singled out captain Josh Beaumont for praise after Sale Sharks eased past Newport Gwent Dragons to secure a home quarter-final in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

After Dragons winger Hallam Amos saw yellow in the tenth minute, the Sharks smelt blood and scored three first-half tries through Brian Mujati, a penalty try and Beaumont, who was called up to the England squad last week.

Two more tries came in the second half through Nev Edwards and Mike Haley to cap off a commanding performance from the Aviva Premiership Rugby side, which ensures their place at the top of Pool 2.

The Dragons – who also qualify as pool runners-up – could not get onto the scoreboard until the 58th minute, when Ashton Hewitt grabbed something of a consolation try.

Director of rugby Diamond said: "Josh was outstanding. His hard-work starts now for England, but I know he can do it.

"His ability to break the first tackle is what you want in rugby, it gives you momentum. He's a big rangy lad, he runs at the gaps which is a skill you are born with."

And Diamond hopes that his side’s recent form can help to propel them up the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, with London Irish at home next up for the Sharks.

He added: "I think we've got something about us at the minute. With Josh Beaumont skippering the team, we've got a lot of young kids who care deeply about the team.

"We need to back these performances up, we need to string a few victories together to battle into the top four.

"Next week, we've got a tough game against London Irish and they're fighting for their lives, so that'll be a different kettle of fish.”
 
Sale Sharks 38 Newport Gwent Dragons 5
 
Sale Sharks
Tries: Mujati, Penalty, Beaumont, Edwards, Haley
Conversions: Cipriani 4, Ford
Penalties: Cipriani
 
Newport Gwent Dragons
Tries:  Hewitt
 

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