SALE Sharks interim head coach Paul Deacon saluted his players’ “commitment to the cause” after they toppled Gloucester 22-19 at Kingsholm.

Substitute Josh Beaumont’s late try ended a run of three defeats in domestic and European competition since Deacon took the reins following rugby director Steve Diamond’s departure.

“I thought the lads showed commitment to the cause, team spirit, all those clichés. It was all there to see,” Deacon said.

“The game could have gone either way. I am sure Gloucester are feeling hard done by, and I probably would have done if we had lost.

“It’s fantastic to get the four points, but there are still things to improve on.”

The closing minutes were overshadowed by a mass brawl that spilled over the touchline and ended with Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees being sin-binned and a member of Sale’s support staff sent to the stand.

Deacon added: “Emotions boil over, and I think a lot of people make it a bigger issue than it actually is.

“Emotions run over then, but I don’t think there was anything untoward, really. It just didn’t look great.”

AJ MacGinty kicked 17 points for Sale, but first-half tries by prop Fraser Balmain and wing Louis Rees-Zammit appeared to set Gloucester up for victory, while fly-half Lloyd Evans booted three penalties. But they were denied during the closing moments, and they remain bottom of the Gallagher Premiership.

“It’s great to win,” Deacon added. “That’s why you put the work in every week. It’s nice to get the first win, and on to next week. We will keep working hard and keep trying to improve.

“Exeter are the benchmark at the minute, and rightly so, but it is very congested, as it always is in the Premiership. There are no easy games.”