Winning home games key to succeed in Aviva Premiership - Steve Diamond

Steve Diamond has underlined the importance of winning Aviva Premiership home games
Steve Diamond has underlined the importance of winning Aviva Premiership home games

Sale Sharks rugby director Steve Diamond emphasised the importance to win home games to secure a play-off spot in the ongoing Aviva Premiership season.

The Sharks on their visit to Ricoh Arena were outdone by Wasps and despite scoring five tries they succumbed to a 50-35 defeat in the season opener.

However, they have a chance to make amends for it when they host Newcastle Falcons at AJ Bell Stadium on Friday and Diamond believes the team needs to capitalise on their home advantage to remain in contention for a top four finish.

"The key in this competition is to win your home games and to pick up bonus points away from home," Diamond said.

"If you can win 90 per cent of your home games and claim a couple of wins on the road, along with bonus points, then you are pushing for the top four.

"Newcastle are a good side. They have got their act together over the past couple of years with Dean (Richards), and they will be difficult opposition.

"They have lots of very good players, so we are going to have to be at our best to win the game.

"But if we sort our defence out, which we hopefully have over this past couple of days, we will be a difficult side to beat at home.

"Our endeavour at Wasps was good. I think we broke every record on our GPS units, and we ran more miles in that game than in any other over the past couple of years.

"So we know that we are fit - we just made some basic errors."

Meanwhile, Newcastle Falcons will head into the encounter brimming with confidence following their 35-8 bonus point victory over Worcester Warriors at Kingston Park in the first round.

"I thought the boys played well against Worcester, and we were delighted with five points," Newcastle rugby director Dean Richards said.

"We showed discipline, we stuck to our task and the players responded to what we asked of them. We didn't actually change much in terms of what we did as a team - we just did it more effectively.

"The good thing was that we did all this with just one of our new signings (Josh Matavesi) in the starting side, so it shows the quality we have in the group before we even start to look at injecting more of the new guys into the team.

"Their sheer presence here has raised the quality of performance of the other boys, and you could see the difference.

"They (Sale) are a good side with key individuals in key areas, and we know what they will bring to the table.

"It will be a different game to last week. Sale will be massively up for it, with being the home side, and it should be a good contest."

For your latest betting news and deals please visit Betfred.

Aviva Premiership Rugby 2017/18 - Points Table