Aviva Premiership: Steve Diamond looking forward to European Rugby Champions Cup

Last Updated: 19/04/14 6:49pm

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Sky Bet

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond was 'delighted' after his side secured a place in next season's European Rugby Champions Cup with a 55-12 victory over Exeter.

"That was obviously one of our aims from today because there was a bit of pressure on us having played well all season," said Diamond.

"But we didn't play well a couple of weeks ago against Harlequins. This is a difficult place to come so we are delighted. We played well and we reminded the players in the week that we hadn't won here before.

"We hit form today and if we do that with the players that we've got then we can score tries like we did. The top four in the Premiership is probably away from us but we've got to manage expectations from where we have come from and what we have spent.

"To be competing in the top four you have to be spending big money. We don't do that so anywhere around the top six is great for us. We didn't expect to win by that scoreline by any stretch of the imagination."

"To be competing in the top four you have to be spending big money. We don't do that so anywhere around the top six is great for us."
Steve Diamond

Exeter went into the game hoping to hold on to seventh place in the Premiership, and a play-off against the seventh-placed club in France for the final place in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Top tier

"I said to the guys in the dressing room afterwards that I want us to be in the top tier of the European competition," said Exeter head coach Rob Baxter.

"But to do that we have to be in seventh place to give us an opportunity. But I can't make that their motivation - they have to show that themselves.

"I was a little disappointed with this performance, which didn't really look like a highly motivated side that was going to fight tooth and nail to cement that seventh place.

"We were in before today but we weren't by the end of the day and that is purely down to us, it was all in our hands. I said some truthful, rather than harsh, words [to the players] and said that sometimes you have to look at a game that has been a humbling experience.

"In our time in the Premiership I thought that we had talked through ways of managing those situations enough times now for something like today not to happen and for us to get a grip on the game after conceding an early score.

"But today, the truth is collectively they were better than we were and we paid the price massively.

"There were some good performances from some of our players but collectively we were off enough, and in enough different areas, for it not to be a very tough contest."

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