Sale Sharks take another step towards the home play-offs with victory over the Bristol Bears

Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson looks on before a Premiership clash.  Credit: Alamy

Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson looks on before a Premiership clash. Credit: Alamy

Sale Sharks boss Alex Sanderson is eyeing a home play-off in the Premiership following his side’s 36-20 win against Bristol Bears on Friday.

The win confirmed a top-four finish for Sanderson’s men, and Sale need just one more win from their last two matches to guarantee a play-off at home.

Confirmation belief

Sanderson said the win against Bristol confirmed their belief heading into the end of the season after a “more complete performance”.

“It’s tough against the best away teams,” said Sanderson.

“You want to keep your form – you have to, go to the final. If we keep the form, we win again and get a home semi-final. This is the basis.

“We needed it tonight. We’re almost there, we’re almost there, and we’ve had enough of saying it. It was a good time to get back in shape.

“It is the confirmation of our conviction. That was a more complete performance, and great players finding form at this stage of the season is crucial.

Manu Tuilagi made a promising breakthrough against Bristol and Sanderson provided an update on the English centre’s contract situation.

Sanderson added: “It’s not signed, it’s not sealed, but it’s been delivered. There have been other moving parts regarding the salary cap that went into effect today.

“I’ve been there before when the carpet is ripped out from under you and a French or Japanese team comes in with £1m.

“I will never get in his way if this is what is right for him and his family. It is right that he stays with us for all reasons ”.

Kudos to the Curry brothers

The director of rugby praised the Curry brothers, Tom and Ben, who were brilliant throughout the evening and shared the man of the match award.

“They’re probably playing some of their best rugby,” Sanderson said.

“They are loving it, coming to their maturity. Which ones are they? 24 hour.

“Tom got his recognition and Ben very much deserves to get it. It’s only fitting that they have the best on the pitch tonight.

“I can’t speak more lyrically about them. They are great guys, they are great to work with, super enthusiastic.

“They both could have the captain’s armband, but Ben carries that torch and Tom backs him up, which is great.”

Meanwhile, Bristol boss Pat Lam admits the result was disappointing and now the focus is on securing European Cup qualification.

“Every time we play Sale, it comes down to the physical battle, and they won it 100 percent tonight,” said Lam.

“We made it difficult for ourselves. We dropped 12 points before we even got down to our 22. All in all, it was a disappointment.

“When you have a kicker like George Ford, and in those (wet) conditions, three points is like five points.

“For us now, it’s about securing the European Cup (qualification) for next season.”

TO KNOW MORE: Premiership: Sale Sharks edge past Bristol Bears to seal play-off place as Bath fight back to beat Gloucester

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