Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond says his team followed the script perfectly as they eased to a bonus-point victory over London Irish at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Three first-half tries and two in the second period gave Sale their bonus point and moved them ahead of Irish in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.
It is the third win of the season for Sale – all of which have come at home – and Diamond admits he was delighted with the poise his team showed on their way to victory.
“Put Danny Cipriani behind a dominant pack and he shows you how he controls field position for you,” he said.
“We kept the pressure on and we were keen to build a score, but we had to get a grip of the forward pack and with those drives and those scrums, that’s the Sale we know. I’m really pleased.
“You’re coming up against sides who don’t know how to defend the maul, and as long as one of them joins it you’re in trouble, and that’s what we managed to do.
“We managed to drag them into the maul and then they couldn’t stop it: if they collapse it’s a penalty and we do it again, so we got inside their brains a little bit on that front.
“The second half was all about building a score. We need to get out of that rollercoaster inconsistencies, and be consistent. All we’ve got to do is stick to the script, and they did that today.”
After an early penalty for the visitors they had to wait until well into the second period before they snatched a try through skipper George Skivington.
However, a missed conversion from Chris Noakes summed up a frustrating day out for Brian Smith’s men who says his team never got going.
“A tough day at the office. Sale were very good today and brought a lot of intensity, and we were out-hustled and out-muscled, and they nailed us at the scrum and put the ball into the corner and screwed us there,” he said.
“With 13 players on the park it’s very very difficult and they made that count. They scored two tries when we had guys in the bin, and that sealed the game really, that block of 15 minutes when we had one or two players off the park.
“We’ve got to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off. We’ve been handed a bit of a hiding today, and there are plenty of lessons to learn, but the good thing about sport is that a week is a long time and you can turn things round.”
Sale Sharks: Haley; Brady, Jennings, Tuitupou (Forsyth 57), Arscott; Cipriani (Macleod 64), Cliff (Fowles 68); Lewis-Roberts (Flynn 70), Jones, Cobilas (Harrison 57), Mills (Lund 57), Paterson, Braid (Easter 57), Seymour, Beaumont.
Not used: Neild.
London Irish: Fenby; Lewington (Short 62), Mulchrone, Griffin, Ojo; Noakes, Allinson (Steele 47); Court (Hagan 68), Paice (Stevens 47), Aulika (Halavatau 47), Skivington, Cox (Lyon 52), Low, Narraway, Guest (Stevens 38-45, Curry 78).
Not used: Dorrian.
Tries: Seymour, Braid, penalty 2, Forsyth
Conversions: Cipriani 3, Macleod
Referee: Matthew Carley