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Sale Sharks 27-19 Newcastle Falcons, Aviva Premiership
Tait frustrated by Falcons defeat
ESPNscrum Staff
December 26, 2011
Sale Sharks centre Sam Tuitupou chips forward, Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks, Aviva Premiership, Kingston Park, Newcastle, England, December 26, 2011
Sale's Sam Tuitupou chips the ball in behind the Newcastle defence during the game at Edgeley Park © Getty Images
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Newcastle head coach Alan Tait was left bemoaning his side's sluggish start after Boxing Day defeat by Sale Sharks at Edgeley Park.

The Falcons gave themselves a mountain to climb after falling 16 points down after just 22 minutes of play in Stockport, with Tom Brady crossing for an early try which was converted by Nick Mcleod, who then stroked over three quick-fire penalties.

However, Newcastle dragged themselves back into the game with a penalty from Jimmy Gopperth and a try from Jeremy Manning.

Gopperth's boot then drew the visitors to within three points but Mark Cueto's touchdown just before the hour swung the game decisively back in Sale's favour and Newcastle ultimately left Edgeley Park empty-handed after coming out on the wrong side of a 27-19 scoreline.

"It was 30 minutes before we actually woke ourselves up," Tait said. "I've spoken to the guys after the game and that was a disappointing start.

"I think mentally a lot of players didn't prepare themselves for the challenge that was ahead. Full marks to Sale, I've watched them a lot on the video trying to analyse their game.

"Although they don't have as many big stars as they had in the past, they do work hard for one another."

Meanwhile, Sale executive director of sport Steve Diamond was pleased with the four points but was frustrated by another patchy performance from his side.

"It's where we're at really; we play well in the first half and potentially could blow them away," he said.

"Sides get into us a little bit but fair play; we managed to weather the storm and finished strongly. We probably scored the try against the grain, but that's the way it goes.

"With a player like Gopperth who kicks everything soccer-style from everywhere, it's difficult, but I don't think we were in massive danger of conceding tries.

"Our ill-discipline let us down a bit and he was knocking them over from all over the show, so we'll work on that. But it's half-time in the league and I'm pretty happy about it."

The win was Sale's fourth in a row in all competitions but Diamond revealed that he has still now allowed his players to forget their last defeat, against Exeter Chiefs last month.

"Exeter gets mentioned every day to them," he said. "The mentality is that if you give a side a sniff then they can always get back in it.

"With seven points per score with a good goal-kicker, you're never far away are you? You've got to be 30 or 40 points away before you can relax."

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