Head Coach Richard Hill had no complaints as Sale secured a 33-27 victory over Warriors at Salford City Stadium – admitting his team needed to take more advantage of the elements in the first half.
Warriors suffered a disappointing defeat on the road despite tries from Neil Best and late score from Matt Kvesic that rescued a losing bonus point. Fly half Andy Goode scored 17 points to become the club’s all-time leading points scorer.
Hill felt the best side had won the Aviva Premiership encounter as Worcester’s long hunt for a league away win continued.
And he pinpointed only having a two-point advantage at the break after having the best of the windy conditions and two more yellow cards as pivotal.
“It’s another defeat but at least we have got a point. It’s not devastating – but it is still a long trip back. Sale deserved it, they are fighting for their Premiership survival and I thought they looked very sharp,” said Hill.
“They did remarkable well to play so well after a five-day turnaround. We assisted them greatly by having to play 20 minutes with 14 men; again two sin-bins did not help us.
“Sale are a good side. Every time we have looked at them they have got some quality players.
“They knew they had to perform as they have got Saracens away next week which will be a tough one. This was an absolutely vital game for them. They rose to the occasion and they played very well, they put us under pressure and deserved the victory.
“I don’t think we used the breeze well enough. I was annoyed at half-time because we tried to play too much rugby in our own half with a very strong wind behind us,” he added.
“We built a nice lead up to 9-0 and then we started to try and play inside our own 10-metre line and we got turned over and conceded penalties.
“Tactically we were very poor in that first half. We went down to 14 men and let Sale score a try as a result. They went into half-time losing but you could see they were full of enthusiasm and confidence.
“Turning around against the wind with only a 16-14 lead, I was very disappointed with the way we had played tactically.
“We got off to a decent start with a three-pointer at the start of the second half, but then Sale came at us and drove well, did enough to suck us in around the fringes and picked and went.
“We weren’t at our best defensively today and not on the front foot and coming forward. With that they sucked enough men in to move the ball wide.
“Richie Gray played exceptionally well in midfield and the two centres were attacking us hard. They did the damage by sucking us in with the drive and pick and go. We were having to commit a lot of numbers to the breakdown and they switched it wide at a sensible time.
“There were one or two turning points, we had a five metre lineout and if we had scored at that time, when we were penalised for obstruction, we would have taken the lead. The two sin binnings were also crucial.
“Overall we can’t complain. It was a very good performance by Sale and the best I have seen them play all year.”
Worcester have now secured one away win in the league all year – away to London Wasps in January – and Hill admits his team must find a solution for travel sickness.
“We are working hard at the away games and we will get another win at some stage. It’s proving tough to do that at the moment and it’s hard to win away in the Premiership,” he concluded.
“We were disappointed by our last two away games against Harlequins and Perpignan; we could have won both of those. But today we were beaten and we can’t turn around and say we should have won.
“We’ve got to keep at it and find a way to win these crucial away games. At least we are picking up points and are competitive.
“We could see that Sale were on a high today and we were up against it, but we stuck in and scored the driving lineout at the end to get a losing bonus point.
“It makes going back down to Worcester a bit more palatable and it’s important to pick up points.”
“We’ve got to keep at it and find a way to win these crucial away games. At least we are picking up points and are competitive…"