Worcester Warriors boss Gary Gold was left bitterly disappointed after seeing his side throw away an early lead at Sale Sharks, despite a last-gasp score from Biyi Alo handing the Warriors a try-bonus point in the 36-26 defeat.
Worcester raced into a 14-7 lead after 20 minutes as they dominated territory and possession, Francois Hougaard and Joseph Taufete’e scoring for the Warriors.
However, Sam James was the star of the show for Sale, scoring twice in a breath-taking first half showing, with Mike Haley, Byron McGuigan and Ben Curry also getting on the scoresheet for the Sharks.
Late scores from former England international Chris Pennell and Alo ensured Worcester would not leave the North West empty-handed.
But Gold was left to reflect on a catalogue of needless errors that he felt had handed Sale an undeserved win.
Gold said: “I was very disappointed we didn’t come away with more from that game and we only have ourselves to blame,” he said.
Great to get my 50th cap for @WorcsWarriors today. Shame about the result but some positives to take.
— ryan lamb (@ryan_lamb) April 7, 2017
“Our errors let at least three of their tries in, losing the line-out and a scrum penalty against us are all very disappointing things to concede.
“We have to be really hard on ourselves and realise that if you make mistake like we have tonight, teams are going to make you pay and that’s the disappointing thing.
“We played some good rugby in the first half; I thought we looked after the ball quite nicely.
“It’s the same issue again for us, we score tries but you just can’t concede as many points as we have tonight and still expect to win games of rugby.
“The source of conceding so many points lately has come from our own errors, we were a little unlucky with the kick through and they also scored an opportunist try but we can’t keep using excuses.”
Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond felt his side had been extremely lucky to go in at the break 21-14 ahead after seeing Worcester Warriors dominate the opening stages.
Worcester gave away just one penalty in the opening 40 minutes compared to Sale’s eight, but Diamond described his side’s consistency at the set piece as their all-important get out of jail card against the Warriors.
Diamond said: “I thought we had a blip last time out at home against Northampton Saints. We thought we were safe and didn’t play well and since then we have gone to Exeter and put in a really good performance and today we have converted our efforts.
“I thought we played really well in some areas, they were still some errors but I was really chuffed with how we responded.
— Ross Harrison (@RossHarrisonFR) April 7, 2017
“I thought first half Worcester were probably the better team but somehow we went in seven points up, we gave away seven or eight penalties and they gave away one.
“We were lucky to be in front but our line-out worked well and our scrum was pretty good and when your set piece is working it certainly helps things.
“We have a side that is capable of converting chances and we did that expertly tonight and that made a very difference.”
Sale: Haley, Solomona (Longbottom, 68), James, Jennings, McGuigan, MacGinty, Phillips, Harrison, Webber, Aulika, Evans, Ostrikov, Neild, T Curry (B Curry, 52), Beaumont (capt).
Not used: Flynn, Nott, Pearce, Mitchell, Bedlow, Charnley.
Worcester: Pennell, Humphreys, Willison, Te’o, Adams (Olivier, 72), Mills (Lamb, 64), Hougaard (Baldwin, 74), Bower (Grant, 61), Taufete’e, Schonert (Alo, 70), O’Callaghan (Barry, 70), Spencer, Vui (Potgieter, 71), Lewis, Mama.
Not used: Bregvadze.
Sale Sharks 36
Tries: James 2, Haley, McGuigan, B Curry
Conversions: MacGinty 2
Worcester Warriors 26
Tries: Hougaard, Taufete’e, Pennell, Alo
Conversions: Mills 2, Lamb
Referee: Matthew Carley
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