ALEX Sanderson defended his decision to make wholesale changes for the 27-22 defeat to Bath – the first loss of his Sale Sharks tenure.

The director of rugby made 10 alterations to the side that had beaten leaders Bristol so impressively the previous week.

Captain Jono Ross, Dan Du Preez and Cameron Neild all scored tries for Sale with Rob Du Preez kicking a conversion and penalty and AJ MacGinty adding a late conversion.

But it proved not to be enough as Bath ended a run of six successive defeats the AJ Bell Stadium.

Sale started the game slowly and that was their undoing according to Sanderson.

“We weren’t able to do the basics in that first half and gifted them 24 points,” he said.

“We haven’t really made them work for those points in the first half. We weren’t chasing the game by any stretch but it’s a good lesson.

“It doesn’t matter about your game plan or how talented your players are, if you can’t do the basics right you’re going to lose the game.”

Sanderson went on to defend his decision to make 10 changes which included leaving out World Cup-winning scrum half Faf de Klerk.

“We’ve got good strength in depth and the season has to be a squad effort,” he added ahead of Saturday’s trip to Harlequins.

“I guess in hindsight it might have been too many to rotate to keep the consistency, so I’ll take that responsibility.

“I’ve still got faith in these lads that I put out. I still think they’re good enough.”