Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson hailed the mix of ‘northern grit and South African steel’ which helped his side complete a remarkable 20-19 victory over Wasps at the weekend.

And the Sharks will need to demonstrate that blend once again when they travel to Scarlets on Sunday for an Anglo-Welsh showdown as they look to open their European Champions Cup account.

Sale are currently eighth in Pool A having lost their opening two games to Toulon and Edinburgh.

But Sanderson can take heart from the performance against Wasps that saw them climb up to third place in the Premiership.

Sale made hard work of it having had four players yellow carded in the second half at the Ricoh Arena but dug in to keep themselves in the contest before Josh Beaumont crashed over for a last-gasp try.

Rob Du Preez’s nerveless conversion nudged the Sharks ahead and they held on to become the first team to win a Premiership match having had four men sin-binned.

“It’s unbelievable,” Sanderson said. “I thought we’d sealed the game for Wasps there.

“We’re trying to build belief, a northern grit with South African steel, and that brought us through.

“In every game there’s a sin-bin, we’re top of the leaderboard by some way so we’ve got to sort that out.

“It’s a really fine line, that intensity, that aggression and the discipline.

“What I don’t want to do is take anything away from this emotive, physical team that I’m lucky to be a part of, but we’ve got to get better discipline-wise.”

Sale struck first in Coventry when Akker Van Der Merwe barrelled over in the 11th minute.

Malakai Fekitoa responded for the hosts before Du Preez and Jimmy Gopperth exchanged penalties, Sharks taking a 13-10 lead into the break.

Gopperth’s boot edged Wasps in front but the home side did not take full advantage of their near-constant numerical advantage, with the visitors at times down to 13 men, and were made to pay when Beaumont provided the late sucker punch.

“It was a proper game of rugby,” Sanderson said.

“Some might say it’s not entertaining but that’s rugby. Especially at the highest level, it never ends up 30-40; 20-19, that’s a game.

“I’m happy with the win but we can always do better.”