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?
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
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

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game