Brewer bubbles over after Sale are sunk by Bath

Bath 31 Sale Sharks 16: Former All Black refuses to 'spin a load of bull' to excuse his team after seeing poor defence lead to a four-try beating

As the local heroine Jane Austen might have put it, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a club in possession of a good fortune, as Bath are, go into a Premiership season expecting success, particularly when they have a squad to match. Sale and their new head coach, Mike Brewer, had placed their faith in pride over such prejudice. They thought Bath would be vulnerable after a chastening defeat nine days ago. The bonus-point try run in near the end by Ben Williams, a Dorset lad in the Bath back line, said otherwise.

Sale have now won once away in 18 league attempts and are tipped by most for the bottom half of the table. Hearteningly, they had won two home matches either side of losing at Saracens this season. Damagingly, they were messed about by injuries to their midfield before and during this match. Brewer, who overhauled the squad in the summer, was not interested in excuses.

"We got what we deserved," he said, with the toughness of a 32-cap All Black back-rower. "I can spin a load of bullshit to you as far as us being a maturing side and all that. But if individuals go out on to the field and they're not committed and haven't got the attitude to tackle, the opposition will run through you. The first two tries Bath scored were from two incredibly poor missed tackles and I read the riot act at half-time. We played as we trained during the week – not enough intensity and not enough accuracy."

There had been 25 minutes of so-so rugby – ball lost in the tackle was a feature all afternoon – when Bath led 10-6. They took a scrum instead of a shot at goal in the 12th minute, and created a try with a clever, flat miss-pass from the No 8 and captain, Luke Watson, to Duncan Bell. That is probably that for the popular tighthead prop, who has averaged one try a season for Bath since joining in 2003.

Olly Barkley kicked the conversion and a penalty before Paul Williams kicked two penalties for Sale. But they came during a disruptive period for the visitors. Sale's Welsh fly-half, Nick Macleod, limped off and the Ireland Under-20 inside centre Kyle Tonetti followed. On came a New Zealander and an Englishman, Matty James and Rob Miller, and it all left Ben Cohen over-exposed as a big wing at outside centre. The general muddle allowed Bath's England centre, Shontayne Hape through on a criminally straightforward scissors with Barkley behind a scrum, which Brewer put down to James and Mark Cueto.

Bath's own convert in the Cohen mould, Matt Banahan, was missing injured, together with David Flatman, Simon Taylor, Butch James and the rested Davey Wilson. But Barkley and Sam Vesty are holding the midfield end up nicely in James's absence. At full-back, Nick Abendanon moved less than comfortably with half an A&E department's worth of bandage around his left thigh, and Sale did their damnedest to exploit that with chips through the line. Not to any great effect, though.

Barkley converted Bath's three first-half tries though there was good fortune in the third, by Matt Carraro. The referee, JP Doyle, appeared to be playing advantage for a knock-on by Bell when Cueto, demonstrating Sale's willingness to run from deep, had a pass intercepted. Carraro hesitated for a moment before running the ball in as Mr Doyle saw nothing amiss.

Paul Williams' third penalty trimmed Bath's lead to 24-9 after 56 minutes after which the battle shiftedto the scrum. Two on Sale's line were wheeled and Andrew Sheridan, the England loosehead prop feeling his way back after operations on both shoulders, eventually stalked from the field. A third uncomfortable scrum on Sale's line followed, but Dwayne Peel tidied it up. He generally passed beautifully but what the Welsh scrum-half could never do alone was cover for the absence of two injured internationals, Charlie Hodgson and Mathew Tait, outside him.

Almost inevitably Bath, who have Sir Ian McGeechan's coaching nous and the owner Bruce Craig's money to heighten their expectations, scored again with two minutes remaining. Tom Biggs was held at one corner but Williams nipped past Cueto at the other. Barkley converted. Wame Lewaravu galumphed to a convertedtry for Sale at the death.

Bath's head coach, Steve Meehan, was satisfied: "We didn't shout and scream about what happened at Northampton and we were pretty pleased with the response."

Bath N Abendanon; M Carraro, S Hape (B Williams, 62), O Barkley, T Biggs; S Vesty, M Claassens; D Barnes (N Catt, 62), P Dixon (R Batty, 61), D Bell, S Hooper, D Grewcock (B Skirving, 62), A Beattie (J Ovens, 74), L Watson (capt), L Moody.

Sale Sharks P Williams; T Brady, B Cohen, K Tonetti (R Miller, 28), M Cueto; N Macleod (M James, 22), D Peel; A Sheridan (L Imiolek, 70), A Croall (N Briggs, 40), K Wihongi (J Forster, 56), N Rouse, W Lewaravu, C Fearns, S Koyamaibole (K Ormsby, 40), D Seymour (capt; J Gaskell, 46).

Referee JP Doyle (London).

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam