Castrogiovanni to the fore as Tigers launch fightback
Sale 13 Leicester 34
Saturday 29 October 2011
For 40 minutes under the floodlights at Stockport last night it was anything but neat.
Then, with a try-scoring blaze midway through the second half, the Tigers managed to find their Premiership feet.
Trailing 13-3 at the break, Leicester got into their stride after the interval. Big time. They were already getting on top when Martin Castrogiovanni was summoned from the bench after 55 minutes but the dynamic bulk of the Italian tighthead prop gave them the momentum to claim a second win of the domestic league season and start the climb from the depths of the table.
Castro's role in the revolution included a five-point contribution. There were tries from two other World Cup returnees – Toby Flood and Marcos Ayerza – and also one from Alesani Tuilagi, leaving Richard Cockerill's men with a bonus point win.
"A massive victory," Cockerill, Leicester's director of rugby, called it. "The players got themselves into a hole and they dug themselves out of it."
The visitors got themselves off to a decent enough start, Flood landing a 10th-minute penalty, but it was Sale who made the bulk of the first-half running. Indeed, it took the bulk of Thomas "the Tank Engine" Waldrom to derail Rob Miller when the home full-back was released on the left by the nifty Scotland No 8 Richie Vernon.
There was also a close call when Dwayne Peel, Sale's former Lion of a scrum-half, dabbed a grubber into the right corner. Geordan Murphy hesitated and Tom Brady dotted the ball down, only for the television match official to rule that the Sale wing had ventured into touch.
It proved to be a temporary reprieve. Nick MacLeod found his kicking feet, banging over two penalties. Then, after Leicester 's Argentinian centre Horacio Agulla was pinged for not releasing, Peel took a quick tap before feeding the ball on the blindside to Miller, who shipped it on for Brady to jink over on the left.
It was the 22nd try conceded by the Tigers in the 2011-12 Premiership. In the whole of last season they leaked 29. MacLeod compounded the pain, landing the conversion to leave Sale 13-3 to the good at the interval.
It was no less than the home side deserved and they held on to their 10-point advantage when Flood stepped up to push a penalty wide three minutes into the second-half. They also held firm when Flood and Murphy combined to release the bulk of Waldrom on the charge.
In stemming the tide, however, they strayed offside in front of the posts, allowing Flood to peg the score back to 13-6. It was the cue for Steve Diamond to release Andy Powell from bench duty.
The big Welsh No 8 was obliged to fend on the back foot with his pack as the Tigers cranked up the forward pressure. Cockerill sent on Castrogiovanni for Dan Cole and the Buenos Aires-born prop did not take long to make his presence felt.
Castrogiovanni was at the heart of the drive into the right corner that paved the way for Leicester's opening try in the 57th minute. When the ball was released to the backs, Flood fed Tuilagi and the Samoan centre strolled through a gap to the line.
Four minutes later Castrogiovanni did the scoring himself, driving over from a close-range line-out on the right. Flood converted both efforts, then did so again in the 64th minute after taking a feed from replacement scrum-half James Grindal.
The contest was over by then. All was left was for Ayerza to claim the bonus point, the Argentinian prop barging over on the right
Sale: Try: Brady; Conversion: MacLeod; Penalties: MacLeod 2 . Leicester: Tries: A Tuilagi, Castrogiovanni, Flood, Ayerza; Conversions: Flood 4; Penalties: Flood 2
Sale: R Miller; T Brady (W Addison, 71), J Leota, S Tuitupou (capt), M Cueto; N MacLeod, D Peel (W Cliff, 62); V Cobilas (L Imolek, 70), M Jones (J Ward, 50), H Thomas (T Buckley, 57), W Lewaravu (A Powell, 50), K Myall, J Gaskell, D Seymour, R Vernon.
Leicester: G Murphy (capt) (N Morris, 72); S Hamilton, H Agulla, M Smith, A Tuilagi; T Flood (J Staunton, 72), S Harrison (J Grindal, 62); M Ayerza (B Stankovich, 70), G Chuter (T Youngs, 64), D Cole (M Castrogiovanni, 55) G Skivington (E Slater, 62), G Parling, T Croft (S Mafi, 70), J Salvi, T Waldrom.
Referee: A Small (RFU).
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportThe coach of Chalfont St Peter's under-10s football team was relieved of his duties after he sent an email to parents that said: 'I am only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
indybestMake getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Arsenal 2 Hull City 0 match report: Nicklas Bendtner back in the goals as superb Arsenal march on at the top
Liverpool 5 Norwich City 1 match report: Sublime Luis Suarez tears Norwich apart once again
Fulham 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 match report: Andre Villas-Boas masterstroke helps Spurs edge Rene Meulensteen's battling Fulham
David Moyes admits Manchester United face tough task to retain their title
Manchester United 0 Everton 1 match report: David Moyes misery as Roberto Martinez pulls off the elusive victory
- 1 North Korea: Kim Jong Un 'sacks powerful uncle and has his aides executed'
- 2 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 3 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 ‘Put it in my mouth’: Viewers outraged by apparent reference to oral sex in VIP e-cig advert