Dewi Morris says Sale must show more guts as reputations are on the line after their terrible start.
Last Updated: 26/09/12 2:55pm
Sale are a side in transition and it will take time for them to get it right. However it will be interesting to see how long they are given to make that transition because there are a lot of reputations at stake here.
A lot of people saw Bryan Redpath as the prodigal son returning and they also have made some big signings like Danny Cipriani - who I have always had my slight doubts about. It is one thing coming onto an established side but another coming into a side that has no structure and that is what Sale are at the moment.
They definitely have the talent but the problem is that the fixtures come thick and fast and if you don't get some early wins then the pressure builds and builds. It is important to get a bit of momentum at the start of the season - it is a confidence builder.
Sale's players are feeling the pressure. These guys are on good money and the supporters are not happy with their performances. They have moved to a new stadium and there is pressure on getting the crowds in - all that would disappear if they were performing on the pitch, but they are not.
They were disappointing against London Welsh because they thought they would just turn up, go through the patterns and get the win. The two tries they leaked were very soft and should have been very easy to defend.
Steve Scott has taken the bullet but there are only so many bullets Steve Diamond can fire before the revolver gets turned. I mean that in the nicest way as he likes being a very hands-on coach and will be as frustrated as anyone. He has taken over those reins from Scott and he will also be looking for Redpath to start upping things. They do have some tough fixtures ahead with Bath away and then in our live game next Friday they face Leicester.
I thought Andy Powell and Dwayne Peel were magnificent for Sale but they need to get more cohesion, some of the parts just don't fit at the moment. I don't think it is time for them to panic but I do think that a top-six finish is gone for them which will be very disappointing. The North West needs a successful club that will be hosting the likes of Munster and Toulouse in the Heineken Cup.
They need to calm down, they are very frenetic at the moment and their attempt to move the ball - which is lovely to see - is not working and they need to hold onto it. They need to be a bit more old-fashioned: get a 10 who controls the game, someone who does nothing flash but uses the big centres to carry the ball up and be more direct.
I want them to up the guts stuff and lower the fast and furious tempo. Once they have started to grind people down and are getting three, six, nine points ahead, then start throwing it around - but only in the kill zones. All the fancy stuff has to go out the window because they have lost the first four games. Now it is all about winning. It is not going to be pretty but it will be effective.
They have the squad to play this way - they have a scrum, a lineout and the halfbacks to really take a game by the scruff of its neck. They have all the parts of the jigsaw; it is Bryan Redpath's and Steve Diamond's job to put it all together.
Dewi Morris team of the week: Round four
1. Soane Tonga'uiha (Northampton): He is probably the most outstanding loosehead I have seen in the Premiership for three four years. Last season was not great for him but he is coming back to his best.
2. Joe Gray (Harlequins): This was a tough one but his all round play against Leicester was superb. He carried well, put in his tackles and is definitely one to watch, a brilliant performance.
3. Paulica Ion (London Welsh): He epitomises a guy who has come on and told to do a job. It is very simplistic but he pushed his heart out to give his team a chance and then got his hands on the ball when he could.
4. Tom Savage (Gloucester): I have not seen much of him but I was very impressed with him - he stuttered a bit at the end but enjoyed his performance
5. James Percival (Worcester): George Robson was outstanding but Percival did not give up. He was on a losing side but just kept on going. How Worcester managed to come back from 37-3 down to finally lose 37-31 I don't know.
6. Sione Kalamafoni (Gloucester): What a performance. You have some old Glos coming from Tonga! Up the jumper stuff, I'm coming through the middle so get out the way! A brilliant signing, a brilliant find and a brilliant rugby player.
7. Phil Dowson (Northampton): he can play across the backrow and was excellent coming off a phenomenally powerful Saints pack. His time may have gone for England but his time is certainly now for Saints.
8. Nick Easter (Harlequins): He is a figure everyone is talking about for England. Stuart Lancaster has made his mind up that he is not wanted but he continues to put in impressive performances. In a Harlequins performance that looked easy, Easter was phenomenal.
9. Tyson Keats (London Welsh): Danny Care was very good but I really enjoyed Keats' performance. I don't know much about him but I am going to be reading up about him! He is only a little lad but he knows how to boss a pack of forwards. He does not mind taking it up and getting dirty and will tell his forwards exactly what to do.
10. Nick Evans (Harlequins): Freddie Burns came close but it was Evans for me. This is why he is paid the big bucks and why French clubs want him - he is a flyhalf who can win you a game and orchestrate everyone around him.
11. James Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester): The older you get the better you get! It is lovely to watch someone with incredible talent doing what he does best.
12. Luther Burrell (Northampton): There was some weak tackling there but also some good play. I don't know why Sale let him go because from what I am seeing si that if you get the right people around him you can get a lot out of him. He is a big lump who can move!
13. Elliot Daly (Wasps): He needs to man up big style in the tackle but his try and his step on Henry Trinder was exceptional!
14. Nikki Walker (Worcester): again it was that never say die attitude. He is a big strong athletic guy and he carried the ball very well - which is what you want when the you know what hits the fan.
15. Tom Arscott (London Welsh): James Wilson played well for Saints but Arscott just cannot stop making breaks. He made one slight error but he gives Welsh a focal point. He is not afraid to give it a go and see what is on.