Phil Dowson gets held up by the Sale defence © Getty Images
Rugby News SALE 19 SAINTS 6 Van Velze admits frustrations
GJ Van Velze said that the loss at Sale Sharks was frustrating from the Saints' perspective.
Rarely will the team dominate possession and territory in the way they did after the break without getting points on the scoreboard. But that is exactly what happened at the AJ Bell Stadium as Sale defended their 19-6 half-time lead until the final whistle.
Mark Cueto, Marc Jones and Tom Brady scored the hosts' tries, two of which came in the 10 minutes before half-time. The way Sale took their opportunities - the three scores coming from their only three visits to the Saints' 22 - was in stark contrast to the travellers.
Time and again they came close to the whitewash, but crucial turnovers - whether a fumble or 'choke' tackling holding up the attackers in a maul - ended momentum just when it was getting going.
Talking to SaintsTV after the game Van Velze said that while the team looked a little ring-rusty plenty of credit should be paid to the way Sale played.
"It's not nice losing away from home, especially after last weekend," the number eight commented. "We knew it was two big weeks and wanted to come up here with a bang, but it wasn't to happen today. It's definitely frustrating.
"The second half was tough. We thought we would get rewarded quicker than we did and it's one of those things. They took their opportunities in the first half and defended really well in the second half, so all credit to Sale.
"We looked like a team that hadn't played together for eight weeks, and maybe that plays a part as well. But we're not making excuses; it's another bump on the road. We know what we want to achieve this season and we weren't there today."