Rugby Union: Mannix inspires Sale's would-be tourists

Sale 52 Gloucester 12
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Mike Slemen is a man not given to dispensing extravagant praise. So when, on Saturday, Slemen bade farewell to Sale's captain, Jim Mallinder, with: "Well done, Jim; I'll see you soon," it was the nearest Mallinder has come to receiving an open acknowledgement of the part he has played in Sale's remarkable season.

It was also the clearest indication that Mallinder's name has almost certainly been inked in for England's six-match tour to Argentina next month. It would be some injustice were Mallinder not chosen, or accompanied by a handful of his team-mates.

Tome Beim is among the very best of a crop of English-qualified wingers and it is unlikely if Phil de Glanville will have a better centre partner in Buenos Aires, for either of the Tests, than Jos Baxendell. Others like Steve Diamond, John Fowler, Dave Baldwin and Phil Winstanley have could feature in the party. Slemen and his fellow England selector, Les Cusworth, probably came to have a last look at Mark Mapletoft, the Gloucester outside- half. Instead they saw a virtuoso display by Simon Mannix, Sale's No 10 from New Zealand.

After a bruising battle against Leicester in midweek, Gloucester's front- line troops were easily softened up by the Sale forwards. By the time Mapletoft had scurried over for Gloucester's first try, 10 minutes after the break, Sale were already 33-0 ahead. Dave Erskine, Mannix and Fowler had crossed, before a penalty try was awarded.

Mannix turned the screw with a delightful individual try; Audley Lumsden got a try back for Gloucester, which Mapletoft converted; but two from Beim and another by Adrian Hadley and Gloucester were counted out.

Sale: Tries Mannix 2, Beim 2, Hadley, Fowler, Erskine, Penalty try. Conversions Mannix 6. Gloucester: Tries Mapletoft, Lumsden. Conversion Mapletoft.

Sale: J Mallinder (capt); D Rees, J Baxendell (C Yates 67 mins), A Hadley, T Beim; S Mannix, D Morris (J O'Reilly 73); P Winstanley, S Diamond (L Hewison 60), A Smith (A Yates 67), D Baldwin, J Fowler, D Erskine, D O'Grady (A Morris 73), C Vyvyan.

Gloucester: A Lumsden; M Peters, C Emmerson, M Roberts (D Caskie 32), M Lloyd; M Mapletoft, S Benton; T Windo (T Woodman 66), P Greening, A Deacon, R Fidler, D Sims (capt), A Stanley, N Carter, S Devereux.

Referee: B Campsall (Halifax).