Steve Diamond was delighted after Sale opened their Premiership account
Last Updated: 03/11/12 7:03am
Rob Miller makes a break in Sale's win over London Irish
Sale chief executive Steve Diamond praised his team after they finished an unsettled week on a high by defeating London Irish 21-9.
The game came just days after Diamond had assumed overall charge, with Bryan Redpath moved to head coach, but the players responded by claiming their first Aviva Premiership win of the campaign.
"The week's been different," Diamond said. "But the coaching team behind the scenes know what they're doing, the lads paid attention to what we've done in the week, and we managed to get a hard-fought win tonight.
"We stuck to the game plan and we played well in the first half but we had a shaky start to the second half, where we gave the ball away six or seven times through handling errors."
Lock Richie Gray pulled out before the match and may miss Scotland's opening game of the autumn internationals against New Zealand.
But the pack did well nonetheless and Diamond added: "We've managed to get our scrum sorted out to a large extent and our lineout's effective.
"Ross Harrison needs a special mention at 19 years of age as he was outstanding. There was also Tony Buckley, who's got a lot of critics but is coming on by the day. The problem we'll have is that Ireland will probably take him very soon."
Exiles coach Brian Smith pointed out that his team had lacked preparation time.
He said: "We were on a five-day turnaround, which is a little difficult, but we also had the added issue of the international players being unable to train this week.
"We were patched up but fair play to Sale, as they got hold of the game early. However, I thought we were a little unlucky with the scrum penalties in the first half."
We lost our discipline
He added: "We lost our discipline and that cost us but, fair play to them, they scored twice against us and we fell off tackles against their power centres a couple of times.
"We believed we could peg them back so we made a tactical change to play with three locks in an attempt to try and squeeze them.
"At 15-9 we looked like we were going to turn things around but, at the end of the day, we came away without even a bonus point, so we've got egg on our face now."