Saint-Andre laments injuries

Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre believes injuries have hampered the champions' bid to retain their title. [more]

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Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre believes injuries have hampered the champions’ bid to retain their title.

Sharks have suffered a string of fitness problems to key players and the latest blow to their stuttering defence came with a 40-25 defeat at Newcastle Falcons on Boxing Day.

Saint-Andre insisted: "We played just four days ago and got back from Bath at 2am and then had to travel all the way over to Newcastle.

"I have 14 to 15 players injured and you just cannot play this number of games in a short space of time with so many injuries to your squad.

"We gave Newcastle a Christmas present by missing 21 points in kicks and I felt we had 60-70% of the game and gave away those 21 points.

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"We played some good rugby and scored four good tries and it was a great game to watch for the spectators.

"I’m just glad 2006 is finished and I hope 2007 will be a better year at least for injuries."

Toby Flood landed four penalties and converted all four of the Falcons tries as they picked up five points in their battle to move away from the relegation zone.

Flood could well be front runner for the England number 10 shirt with Charlie Hodgson and Jonny Wilkinson on the injured list.

And Newcastle boss John Fletcher believes he is ready, saying: "Toby Flood is going to get a lot better.

"He’s a classic late developer physically and he does things in training which are fantastic – he is going to be a very, very good player."

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