Hodgson closes in on Sale safety

Sale 17 Worcester 3

Points win prizes. Or in Sale Sharks' case, help them breathe a bit easier. For all the muscular intent emanating from the forwards and the high-octane skills demonstrated by the backs, it is more often than not the man who kicks the points who decides things on a rugby field.

In this spicy encounter, Sale's fly-half Charlie Hodgson slotted two drop-goals, two penalties and ran the game from start to finish. His opposite number Willie Walker missed two penalties and a drop-goal and did little else. Therein lies the real difference between the sides. End of discussion.

And, perhaps, the real beginning of the end of Worcester as a Guinness Premiership side after this crucial relegation encounter left them even more rooted to the bottom of the table then they were already.

"I don't think any of Willie's kicks were easy," Kingsley Jones, the Sale director of rugby, charitably said. "But when it comes to Charlie, you already know what I think. He is a bit like Marmite – you either love him or hate him and we love him here."

After a bright start from both sides that belied their lowly positions, Chris Pennell's penalty for Worcester had the direction but not the distance as it dipped under the crossbar after 20 minutes and Walker then missed another two minutes later.

Sale looked solidified by the returning England internationals Mathew Tait and Mark Cueto and they were involved in everything as Hodgson finally kicked the game's opening score after 29 minutes.

Hodgson's drop-goal soon after extended Sale's lead to six points and to compound matters for the Warriors, Walker missed another straightforward penalty before a further brilliant long-range Hodgson drop-goal made it 9-0 at the break.

Walker finally kicked his first penalty after the break to bring Worcester back within a score but when the impressive Cueto pounced on a bobbling ball to cross in the corner with 15 minutes to go, the game was Sale's.

"To be fair to Sale they edged the game and deserved it overall," Worcester's director of rugby Mike Ruddock said. "The drop-goals from Hodgson were a touch of class and made the difference but I was proud of my players."

Sale: Tries Cueto; Drop-goals Hodgson 2; Penalties Hodgson 2. Worcester: Penalty Walker.

Sale: Vakacegu; Cueto, Tait, Thomas, Cohen; Hodgson, Wigglesworth; Roberts, Briggs (Jones, 73), Forster, Jones, Schofield, Koyamaibole, Seymour, Ormsby.

Worcester: Latham; Pennell, Rasmussen, King (Grove, 57), Gear; Walker, Arr; Black (Black, 59), Fortey (Lutui, 40), Taumoepeau, Rawlinson, Gillies (Kitchener, 65), Wood, Sanderson (capt) (Cracknell, 51), Horstmann (blood: Cracknell 6-12).

Referee: W Barnes (RFU).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried