sport

Diamond: We can beat the drop

Rugby director Steve Diamond remained upbeat on Aviva Premiership survival after Sale's 26-25 win over London Welsh.

A late penalty by fly-half Nick Macleod, on for Danny Cipriani, secured a fourth successive victory for bottom side Sharks in all competitions and moved them to within one point of 11th placed London Irish, losers at Bath on Saturday.

It was a stunning and pulsating victory over a team also struggling at the wrong end of the table and Diamond said: "It was our fourth win on the trot and the momentum has helped us.

"We have remained injury-free and we have to look for survival so it was good to get those four points.

"London Welsh are a good side and we thought we had got away at half-time but they came back, scored a penalty and got their try. But we are still bottom of the league and we have Harlequins and Leicester to come in the next fortnight.

"We have got a job on our hands and we are by no means out of the mire. We have just got to keep training and getting points because I don't think any side that has been bottom of the league at Christmas has stayed up.

"Now we have beaten Exeter by a couple of points and London Welsh by a point. If we can continue to do that in three or four games, we will survive by the skin of our teeth."

Converted by fly-half Gavin Henson, who kicked two penalties, impressed for London Welsh, but his head coach Lyn Jones said there was disappointment at the agonising defeat.

Jones said: "I said before the game that this would go right to the wire and I firmly believe so. We were on the wrong end of a one pointer and the game could have gone either way.

"We didn't take our opportunities when they arose but we picked up a bonus point that takes us a step closer to Worcester (who are ninth). Before the game, we spoke about silly penalties and we were going well but then our knees buckled.

"Sale came back into it and then we were under pressure. A lot of Sale's points came from unsmart play from ourselves. It is dealing with pressure which we are not doing at the moment."