Steve Diamond believes Danny Cipriani’s chances of starring in Eddie Jones’ England revolution are all the better for his stay at Sale Sharks after the fly-half masterminded a victory over Wasps.
Cipriani helped Sale snap their four-game winless streak in Aviva Premiership Rugby by kicking all of their points, including a penalty and a drop goal in the last five minutes that finally downed the visitors.
Wasps, who fell to their third league defeat in the row, had taken the lead on the stroke of half-time through Elliot Daly’s drop goal but Sale’s trusty boot had the last word.
And while the Sharks may not have fought at the top end of Aviva Premiership Rugby since Cipriani joined the club in 2012, Diamond says his star man is the richer for the experience.
“Cipriani played really and is pushing himself into that potential England spot – you learn more playing for a club like Sale when it doesn’t always go well,” he said. “You have to develop as a player and Danny’s done that over the last few years, which is why he wants to stick around for the next few.
“We played pretty well, close game, it wasn’t going to be full of skill but we stuck to our plan, we put the ball 13 or 14 times and I think they caught it once, maybe twice. We manage to stifle their fantastic runners, they never got an opportunity to get going, we seemed to control the.
“We’ve lost three games away from home, two of which we should have won, we needed not to lose sight and panic and think we are a poor team.
“There’s a lot of lads who’ve come through the academy and play for the shirt and you can see the difference when we’re at home. I think we deserved the win.”
The result saw Sale leapfrog Wasps into seventh place as Dai Young’s troops search for a way to bring their stunning European form into domestic duties.
Crushing wins over Leinster and European champions Toulon suggest Wasps are not reaching their potential in Aviva Premiership Rugby, and Young admits his side put in an error-strewn display.
“We made far too many errors,” he said. “It was always going to be a tight game, with the conditions dictating so not many scoring opportunities. A losing bonus point is probably as much as we deserved.
“We’re disappointed with the skill levels we showed – there were 18 or 19 handling errors so we made it hard for ourselves. I think Sale were a bit more urgent than us, anything on the floor they seemed to come up with.
“The table doesn’t lie, there’s a long way to go and we’ve got to be better than we are. We’ve only really lost to the top teams so it’s not disastrous.
“Hard work is a given, you expect that, you expect desire and commitment, but what we have to improve is our skill levels. We had opportunities but we failed to build any pressure because we spilled the ball.
“We’ve had some great wins but we haven’t backed it up with consistent performances.
“We lost every aerial battle, which is becoming a bit of a theme with us and teams are identifying that as our achilles heel."
Sale: Haley; Arscott, James, Tuitupou (Jennings 71), Addison, Cipriani, Cusiter (Stringer 71), Harrison, Taylor, Cobbles (Mujati 59), Evans, Mills (Ostrikov 65), Braid (Neild 40), Seymour, Beaumont
Not used: Lewis Roberts, Easter, Ford
Wasps: Miller, Halai, Daly, Jacobs, Piutau, Gopperth, Simpson (Robson 65’), Mullan (McIntyre 67), Johnson (Sherrington 55), Cittadini, Launchbury, Gaskell (Myall 59), Haskell, Smith, Jones (Young 65)
Not used: Swainston, Jackson, Tagicakibau
Penalties: Cipriani 4
Penalties: Gopperth 2
Referee: Luke Pearce
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