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).


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before