SALE Sharks boss Steve Diamond was “really surprised” Graham Kitchener was not taken off by Worcester Warriors after appearing to be knocked "unconscious”.

Kitchener suffered a blow to his head following a shoulder charge by Jean-Luc du Preez one minute before the break in Sale’s 20-13 loss at Sixways.

Diamond felt Kitchener looked “in a very bad way” as the Warriors lock lay on the floor before returning to his feet to receive medical attention.

After going to the television match official, referee Luke Pearce gave du Preez a straight red – a decision that Diamond also did not agree with at first viewing.

But Diamond appeared to be even more baffled by Warriors’ call to keep Kitchener on the field.

“I have only seen one angle,” said Diamond on the red-card incident.

“From the angle I have seen it's not a red card.

“But I have not seen the other side which may make it look worse.

“That’s where we are at.

“(The sending off) was a big game-changer.

“He’s a big fella to lose and disappointing to lose somebody for an innocuous clear out at a ruck.

“I am really surprised that they have not taken the kid (Kitchener) off straight away.

“He seemed to be out unconscious but carried on playing which amazed me.

“I hope he is OK, but he looked to be in a very bad way.

“He was certainly prone on the ground, but they allowed him to play on.”

Sale full-back Simon Hammersley was also sin-binned in the first half for a high tackle on Melani Nanai.

“They (my players) are aware of that (the tackle rules) and I think we are the most disciplined side in the competition,” Diamond said.

“Hammersley was careless with that seatbelt tackle.

“I have not seen the other angle (for du Preez’s red card) but we know he will be out for six weeks, hopefully it will be reduced a little bit.”

Faf de Klerk marked his first appearance in the Gallagher Premiership since winning the Rugby World Cup with South Africa with Sharks’ first try of the afternoon.

Immediately after touching down, the scrum-half was then challenged by Duncan Weir.

Asked whether he was surprised no action was taken against Weir, Diamond said: “Yes I was.

“The referee thought that it (the tackle) was sufficient.

“Maybe the referee didn’t like them (South Africa) winning the World Cup!

“He thought he deserved to be tackled after he scored a try by about three seconds.”

Tries from de Klerk and Chris Ashton gave Sale a 10-3 lead but du Preez’s dismissal proved to be the turning point as Warriors hit back with scores from Perry Humphreys and Ashley Beck in the second period.

“When you go down to 14 men Faf becomes a trailing defender,” Diamond said.

“He has got to go in the backfield and is nowhere near as effective as coming out of the line and trying to hit people.

“Your whole defensive game has got to change and then that takes it out of you.

“We never really got on the front foot.

“I thought Rohan Janse van Rensburg carried quite well but we have got to be more disciplined than that.”

Diamond added: “We have got to give credit to Worcester.

“To be fair they sucked us in, kicked the ball and made us field those kicks.

“They then found the space around the rucks and had a couple of offloads, so they did really well.

“I have got to be happy with one point.”