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Sale Sharks 6-27 Montpellier, Salford City Stadium
Diamond: 'It could have been worse'
ESPN Staff
January 12, 2013
Sale Sharks' Josh Beaumont plucks a lineout, Sale Sharks v Montpellier, Heineken Cup, Salford City Stadium, England, January 11, 2013
Josh Beaumont makes his debut for Sale against Montpellier © Getty Images
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Sale Sharks boss Steve Diamond was pleased with his side's showing against Montpellier and admitted "it could have been a lot worse".

Sale fell 27-6 to a strong Montpellier side on Friday evening and the Sharks team featured plenty of youth with the likes of 19-year-old centre Mark Jennings starting. The Sharks are battling to avoid the drop from the Aviva Premiership and with their Heineken Cup qualification hopes sunk in December, Diamond opted to shuffle his pack.

The Sale coach also opted to hand Josh Beaumont his full debut and Diamond was pleased with his team's performance. "I thought after the first scrum of the game we were in for a really hard night but they showed a lot of character," Diamond said. "There were a lot of positives moving forward into the league. It could have been a lot worse.

"We have to look at what's important to us and the Aviva is our lifeblood and bread and butter. We've got a lot out of today. The young centre Mark Jennings and Josh Beaumont did well.

"A lot of people put their hands up and showed what character we've got in the team. A guy who takes a lot of the press generally who played well tonight was Danny Cipriani. If he sticks to his kicking game for us he will be great.

"He keeps the forwards going. We were in the game at half-time because of Danny's kicking. We played well in parts but overall their dominance showed and they deserved the score."

Montpellier, flying high in the French League, made it four successive wins to keep alive their qualification hopes, much to the delight of coach Fabien Galthie. "Victory and the bonus point is a good result for us. We now need to beat Toulon, simple as that," Galthie said. "We are going to try."

The former France scrum-half was delighted with the performance of Scotland number eight Johnnie Beattie, who was at the heart of a dominant pack display. "We are very happy for him," he said. "He is one of the best players in the team."

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