Sharks 'playing for their job'

Wed, 02 Jan 2013 16:39
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Sale Sharks winger Mark Cueto admits his job was on the line last weekend after his side ground out a vital win against Worcester Warriors.

Sale Sharks wing Mark Cueto admits his job was on the line last weekend after his side ground out a vital win against Worcester Warriors.

The Sharks, currently bottom of the table in the Premiership, edged out the Warriors 33-27 to close the gap between themselves at 11th-placed London Irish to one point.

The game saw Cueto, capped 55 times by England, equal his good friend Steve Hanley as the top try-scorer in the history of the Premiership on 75 tries.

But for Cueto the record achievement meant nothing compared to the importance of grabbing the victory before the second half of the campaign begins in earnest.

"I'd never felt like I'd felt before that game," said Cueto. "It sounds dramatic but you're playing for your job.

"If we'd lost, you'd have to be honest and say you couldn't see a way back.

"In the back of my mind, I felt that if we lost, we would get relegated. You can't explain how massive it was.

"It's not about setting individual goals like this but it'll be nice to reflect on this once I've finished.

"Things like that are always nice but at the minute, I would've took the win over beating the record or equalling the record but at the same time it's always a bonus and that's the way I've always looked at it.

"There are so many aspects of the game that are far more important to me than scoring tries, I know that's my job, and if I'm in the right position, I'll score tries, but it's not a case of having to work that hard, it's more about the team and doing the right thing for the team, you know making your tackles, working hard, catching the right balls."

The 33-year-old Cueto was on the scoresheet for only the second time this season, both of his tries have come against Worcester, as Sale claimed only their second win of the campaign.

Last week the Sharks confirmed the premature departure of newly-appointed director of rugby John Mitchell.

And while Cueto insists that the squad always knew Mitchell's was only a short-term appointment, the former England star admits the coach's departure is a significant blow for the club.

"It's a shame really. Although on paper the results don't jump off the table at you, in terms of improvement since he was here, but he had a massive influence," he added.

"He was a different voice, he was a different character and his coaching was good and ultimately he always said from the start he was coming in on a consultancy basis and it was going to be around the end of January, February time that he went back and it was always he may stay or he may not.

"But for personal reasons and other things he's gone back. And I'm thankful that he came and helped in the way he did and it would've been better to have kept him but that's the way it is."

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