Will Addison was the unlikely hero off the tee as Sale Sharks earned their second Aviva Premiership Rugby win of the season against Leicester Tigers – and the centre insists he’s happy to hang on to the role if it benefits Steve Diamond’s men going forward.
AJ MacGinty was suffering with a hamstring injury at the AJ Bell and centre Addison duly filled his kicking boots, adding 14 points during the 34-30 win.
Normal service is likely to be resumed for the visit to Bath Rugby this weekend but Addison admits he relished the increased responsibility and pressure to deliver much-needed points for Sale.
Sale opened their Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign with a defeat at Newcastle Falcons, before beating Harlequins in Manchester and then losing to Gloucester Rugby at home.
But improved performances have seen them draw at Worcester Warriors and then deliver their best performance of the campaign last weekend against Tigers.
And Addison is convinced Sharks are well-placed to build on their showing against Leicester and earn a win at the Rec this weekend.
“I just got called up to kicking duty late,” he said. “AJ was struggling with his hamstring a bit so he asked me to kick the conversion after Mike Phillips got us underway with a great try.
“Luckily for me the first three (kicks) were fairly easy which allowed me to get into the groove of it, and everything seemed to go my way from there. But I was definitely pretty chuffed to get all of them.
“I felt we were in a lot of control throughout the game, obviously they scored a couple of quick tries, but even when we were ten points down I felt we had the ability to get back in the game and dominate play.
“We controlled field possession, we controlled possession and managed to get to a position where Leicester was chasing the game and we felt comfortable that they would commit some penalties, which they did end up doing.
“I’m looking to do whatever is best for the team. I’m not someone who looks for personal glory, getting lots of tries or lots of kicks. I’m just interested in whatever contributes most to the team.”
Although buoyed by the performance against Leicester, Addison admits Sale are taking nothing for granted as they travel to in-form Bath at the weekend.
Addison believes the Rec is one of the hardest places to go to in Aviva Premiership Rugby and has called on his team to produce a repeat performance against the West Country outfit.
“The Rec is a great place to go and play on a Friday night, and we’ll go down there with a lot of confidence having played probably our best rugby of the season,” he added.
“That said we know that Bath are hitting the straps at the moment, and their new coach has come in and has really settled the situation down there.
“They’ve always been a team with lots of quality across the board so we can’t take them lightly at all and we are going to need the same attitude we showed against Leicester.
“If we can get a lot of physicality from our forwards then hopefully we can get some gains in the backs and cause them problems.
“I think we are improving away from home but I think we were pretty strong on the road last year. That said I do think maybe we missed a couple of opportunities away from home that we would have taken at home.
“I remember in the Gloucester and Quins games; in particular, we had a couple of chances to win it in the last minute that we failed to take. But we never feel that we have a major disadvantage away from home so we have a good amount of confidence on our travels this year.
“Bath have some top talent. You look at probably the best finisher in the league right now (Semesa) Rokoduguni and he is unreal.
“They’ve got quality across the board, I think their whole back line is probably near enough international quality. (Matt) Banahan, (Jonathan) Joseph, you name it they’re all threats.”