Sale Sharks 34-33 Cardiff Blues, Heineken Cup
Sharks hope to have "turned the corner"
October 14, 2012
Sale's Danny Cipriani is congratulated on his try during their narrow victory over the Blues © PA Photos
Sale Sharks boss Bryan Redpath hailed his side's character after they ended a run of six straight defeats with a 34-33 victory over Cardiff Blues in their Heineken Cup clash on Sunday.
The Premiership side were trailing 27-12 in the early stages of the second half before the introduction of fly-half Danny Cipriani inspired a dramatic turnaround. The headline-grabbing playmaker grabbed his side's first try with further scores from winger Mark Jennings and prop Tony Buckley and the kicking exploits of Nick MacLeod and Rob Miller carrying them to a much-needed victory.
"We've been on the wrong end of these results," said Redpath. "We created two great chances in the first 25 minutes but in the next 15 minutes we conceded three soft tries, and suddenly we're thinking deja vu.
"I said to the players at half-time we were staring down the barrel of a gun. We had to go out with the right mindset to win the game. It's been a tough six weeks. We've taken a lot of flak, quite rightly so in many ways, but hopefully we can turn the corner. The next two games are huge for us."
Redpath was also full of praise for Cipriani following his game-changing cameo. "It was great to see him perform like that and hopefully it will give us a huge confidence boost," he said. "Hopefully Danny and the team can kick on from that. His attacking flair has never been in question, but he had three great kicks for field position and he made his tackles when he needed to, and that was just as important."
Cipriani played down his contribution but hopes it is enough to secure him a start in their next European outing against Montpellier next Sunday. "I enjoyed it. It was good fun. I think the boys were playing pretty well before I came on so it was seamless to fit in there," he said.
"Every player wants to have game time. I've just got to fit in with what the coach wants and needs. I'm new into a team. Obviously I want to start. Mac [Nick MacLeod] is a long servant for the club and he's a great player. He wants that jersey but, if you've got two 10s going for it and both playing well, that's better for the team. I've got to keep working at it and hopefully I'll get a start next week."
Despite seeing his side slump having appeared to have won the game, Blues director of rugby Phil Davies managed to find some positives. "It's a bit frustrating but overall it was more like the performance we're looking for as a team," said Davies. "The platform up front was pretty good and with the ball in hand in the first half we were pretty clinical.
"We just weren't consistent enough, particularly in the last quarter of an hour. There are lots for us to take away - the bonus point plus the way we played. It's a young team and I thought today they came of age a bit and performed really well away from home. After the dust has settled, this will give us confidence. I thought we went up a level today."
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