For the third consecutive Premiership round Sale Sharks threw away valuable points as they once again failed to convert substantial territory and possession into a deserved victory, losing 23-19 to Gloucester on Friday night.
One conciliatory losing bonus point is far from indicative of the performance the Sharks produced live for BT Sport, with this trip to Kingsholm the latest in a worrying pattern of Sale dropping Premiership points in games they really ought to have won.
Two Sione Kalamafoni tries in the space of six minutes (the first coming, criminally, whilst Sale had a man advantage) was to prove decisive as Sale could only muster three points in response once Gloucester had gone 23-16 up.
Particularly worrying was that the Sharks were once again unable to come-from-behind and secure a win despite being the superior team. Seriously, when was the last time Sale were able to turn around a deficit with less than 20 minutes left to play to emerge victorious? A hallmark of great teams is their ability win games right at the death, but that clinical edge is noticeably lacking, and has been for years, for a Sale team that is clearly better than their 13 points in six games suggest.
Sale will now take an extended break from Premiership action with a home-and-home series against Castres in the Challenge Cup hopefully providing some relief from a trifecta of disappointing Premiership results. The Sharks played well enough to win all three of their games against Harlequins, Newcastle and Gloucester in the last month, but instead gained only a paltry four points. Perhaps its time to re-focus the club's efforts on making a run at the Challenge Cup.
Lewis Hughes is growingly increasingly frustrated with Sale's inability to kill off games they deserve to win. Follow @SharkTankRugby for more news, analysis, and opinions on all things Sale Sharks.