Sale wins battle of the South Africans
PREMIERSHIP MATCH REPORT: Sale Sharks moved into second place on the standings, after winning a scrappy affair, beating Gloucester 23-17 at a muddy Kingsholm on Friday.
Playing a better tactical game in the trying and very wet conditions, Sale outscored their hosts by three tries to two.
Sale weathered a Gloucester fightback to secure the vital victory in a game between two teams littered with prominent South African players – and even a coach.
The two sides were locked in a tight battle in the early going and could not register a score until the 27th minute when Rob du Preez claimed three points with his boot after Gloucester were penalised in the maul.
And with five minutes to go before half-time, Sale claimed the first try of the match when Luke James quickly latched onto a loose ball to dot down.
Sale then started the second half where they left the first when Bryn Evans crossed the whitewash as the Sharks drove the hosts’ pack over their own line.
But WillGriff John’s yellow card saw the momentum shift as Fraser Balmain then scored to reduce the deficit but Marland Yarde added his fourth try in two weeks when picking up on more spilt ball to ease the pressure on Sale.
The game went to a grandstand finish after Billy Twelvetrees dotted down, his try confirmed after a lengthy TMO check with the ball having rebounded off Matt Banahan’s head, but Sale managed to grind down the clock to hold on.
“I think the players have said sometimes these things happen,” Gloucester coach Johan Ackermann said.
“We left our hearts out there.
“We made mistakes but the bounce of the ball didn’t go our way. It’s important to still believe.
“There was not much in it, we just made too many errors and mistakes.”
Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond said: “We played the first half really well. We did not have much of the ball but got our noses in front.
“In the second half, we made a pair of glaring errors and they punished us. It was a case of who made the least mistakes really.”
Tries: Twelvetrees, Balmain
Cons: Twelvetrees 2
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: James, Evans, Yarde
Con: R du Preez
Pens: R du Preez 2
Yellow card: Willgriff John (Sale Sharks, 55)
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tom Seabrook, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Franco Mostert (captain), 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Todd Gleave, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Alex Craig, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Matt Banahan.
Sale Sharks: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 Luke James, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Jean-Luc du Preez, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webbe.r, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 James Phillips, 20 Matt Postlethwaite, 21 Gus Warr, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Denny Solomona.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce & John Meredith.
TMO: Rowan Kitt.
Report by @PremRugby