Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson wanted more from his side at half time despite a dominant display against defending champions Leicester in the Premiership on Friday.

Sharks were 16-0 up at the break thanks to a try from Tom O’Flaherty and 11 points from the boot of Robert du Preez.

Despite Handre Pollard’s try after the break, the hosts maintained control of the match thanks to a score from Simon McIntyre and a penalty try, going on to win 40-5.

Ewan Ashman’s late score and du Preez’s try capped a brilliant night for Sharks, who reduced the gap between them and leaders Saracens to five points.

Sanderson said: “Despite that, we still had a few harsh words at half time, but by the end we were dominant.

“Set-pieces were the difference I thought, particularly early on. We really gave it everything with the first couple of scrums and mauls.

“That set the precedent for us and gave us a good, solid platform to build on.

“We needed to rest Sam James last week, he’s been feeling a bit of fatigue so needed a break. He was brilliant tonight, though.

“He’s an unbelievable athlete and he can do most things on a rugby field. He’s really effective.

“That was a really good way to end the year and an even better way to end Joe Simpson’s year.

“We’re delighted for him to finish off with a big win, he’s been a great leader throughout his career and his experience has been invaluable to us in the time he’s been here.

“We all wish him all the best with whatever is next.”

Tigers interim head coach Richard Wigglesworth felt his side did not take their chances in the first half.

He said: “It’s disappointing of course, but we knew the challenges we’d face here.

“Sale are a top side, but we did start the game with quality and aggression.

“We didn’t take the chances we created, though, and when you’re looking at a 16-0 deficit at half time, it’s a long way back.

“The injuries started to pile up in the second half, and that was to prove costly in the end.

“It felt a bit like we were on the back foot for most of the second half.

“The injuries are concerning for us, but at least that opens opportunities for others now - that’s how we’ve got to look at it.

“There were players playing out of position in the end, but players were doing things they shouldn’t necessarily be doing and this is what happens.

“Sale are a quality side, and they’re up where they are in the table for a reason.

“Fair play to them, they made life extremely difficult for us on a tough night.”