SALE may have lost at the death against Newcastle, but director of rugby Steve Diamond pointed to his side’s first-half performance as the main issue in their 15-13 defeat at Kingston Park.

The Sharks had looked destined for victory with time running out and a 13-10 advantage after trading tries through Sean Robinson and Cobus Wiese.

But Toby Flood dotted down into added time to snatch the victory for the Falcons as Sale suffered their first defeat of the new campaign.

Diamond said: “It was a disappointing first half with too many points conceded and too many penalties given away.

“It was ill-discipline from the boys but that was something that we spoke about at half time and it improved in the second half.

“I thought the second half was a lot better and we managed to get ourselves back into the game.

“Fair play to Newcastle though, they are a very plucky side, a very determined side and we won’t be the first team to lose up here.

“Of course, it’s disappointing to lose in the last moments of the game but we didn’t do enough in the first half to get onto the front foot in the game.

“We know that these things do happen and I thought we had control of the second half pretty well.

"Up until the last two or three minutes, we seemed to be in control of the game and probably should have seen it out.”