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We must improve from Northampton, says Sale Sharks’ Sam James

We must improve from Northampton, says Sale Sharks’ Sam James

Sam James says Sale Sharks cannot afford a repeat performance of their disappointing display against Northampton Saints as they bid to kickstart their 2017 in style.

Sale host Bristol Rugby on New Year’s Day, after a 24-5 reverse at Franklin’s Gardens on Christmas Eve.

Sale, who had scrum-half Mike Phillips sin binned just before half-time, have lost seven on the bounce in all competitions, and James said the team is itching to get back on track against basement side Bristol.

Sharks are tenth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, with only Bristol and Worcester Warriors below them.

“We are massively disappointed after the Saints defeat,” centre James said. “We’ve had a couple of weeks where we’ve been going really well in training, and saying we need to put those performances into games, and we really didn’t do that at the weekend. We need to look back on ourselves.

“We didn’t help ourselves going 7-0 down after their first attacking scrum. It’s tough when you lose a man on the pitch as it gives them opportunities, but they didn’t get too many chances while Mike was off.

“We’ve got to be massively wary of Bristol, especially after their victory over Worcester with 14 men. We need to really concentrate on ourselves and come of the blocks firing.

“We’ve come off a tough run of fixtures against some good sides, but it’s always difficult to swallow a loss.”

However, James said the performance of wing Denny Solomona was a massive plus for the team going forward.

The New Zealand-born back, who switched codes earlier in December after a spell at rugby league’s Castleford Tigers, produced a scintillating moment of strength and balance to touch down in the corner under pressure from two players.

“It was a world class finish,” James added. “He gives us real width and we’ve been playing a couple of kicking plays that he’s had chances from.

“He adds a lot more to our game – he’s not just a wing player but a really good ball player as well, he’s a real addition to the back three.

“It’s really looking up for both him and the club.”

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