With a performance to match the miserable conditions, Sale clawed and scrapped their way to a disappointing 15-15 draw against Newcastle Falcons on Saturday, a mediocre result in a fixture the Sharks were heavily favoured to win.
A sudden change in the swirling winds that had come to define this season first official ‘Northern Derby’ was to agonisingly deny Danny Cipriani a perfect day at the kicking tee and a Sale victory; his last minute kick being driven wide by the conditions to prevent the Sharks snatching an admittedly ill-deserved triumph at the death.
In truth, Sale can count themselves incredibly fortunate to have left the AJ Bell with any points at all having been thoroughly outplayed by a Falcons side who only played the horrendous conditions better, but also managed two tries to Sale’s none.
A massive game away to Gloucester on Friday awaits this floundering Sale side. Simply put this side has already dropped too many attainable points to strike much fear into the rest of the Premiership. To be blown away at Saracens where a losing bonus point is usually an acceptable and common result, to lose against Harlequins despite dominating for sixty-plus minutes, and now dropping two points in probably their most winnable game of the season is not indicative of a Sale team capable of challenging for the top-six this season. Sale now need to forget about 'conserving' players for their home fixtures this week, this is a club that desperately need a big, momentum-building win over a mid-table Premiership rival to get their campaign back on track, and how this team respond against Gloucester on Friday will speak volumes about what to expect from the Sharks for the rest of the season.
Lewis Hughes loves rugby and hates the weather. Follow @SharkTankRugby on Twitter for more news, opinions, and analysis of all things Sale Sharks.