Macleod clips Falcons' wings as new-look Sale are off to a flyer

Sale 35 Newcastle 18

The strains of Thin Lizzy and "The Boys Are Back In Town" were in the air as Sale and Newcastle ran out to contest the curtain-raiser to what is now known as the Aviva Premiership in sun-dappled Stockport last night.

David Bowie would have been a more appropriate choice, given the number of ch-ch-ch-ch-changes undertaken by the northern top-flighters since they fought out a basement scrap on the penultimate weekend of last term.

Both clubs sported new coaches, new captains and a host of new players. To the delight of most in the Edgeley Park crowd, it was the Sharks' makeover that drew the first winning blood of the 2010-2011 campaign.

Mike Brewer, the former All Black back-rower now in charge of team affairs at Sale, sat at the back of the main stand watching try-scoring contributions from two of the other new boys in Stockport town – Karena Wihongi, a Kiwi tight-head prop signed from Bourgoin, and Tom Brady, a 19-year-old debutant wing.

For Brewer there was also the satisfaction of seeing Nick Macleod, the Welsh full-back he entrusted with fly-half duties in the absence of the injured Charlie Hodgson, set up both tries and contribute 22 points with the boot.

For Alan Tait, the former Scotland centre appointed as Newcastle's head coach before the final game of last season, there was little more than the pain of what proved to be a pretty comprehensive defeat.

Such has been the scale of change at Sale this summer, they took to the field with just four survivors in their starting XV from the team beaten 32-30 by Newcastle in their final home game of last season: the veteran wing Ben Cohen, hooker Neil Briggs and back-rowers Dave Seymour and Sisa Koyamaibole. They took just two minutes to get points on the board, though, with Macleod landing his first penalty after Newcastle flanker Will Welch had been pinged for failing to roll away in the tackle.

Jeremy Manning, the former Munster No 10, landed an equalising penalty two minutes later, but Macleod banged over two more to wrest the initiative for the home side. But it was the visitors who crossed the whitewash first, on the quarter hour. After Manning had struck the left post with a long-range penalty, Sale failed to scramble the loose ball to safety and flanker Brent Wilson flopped over.

Manning's conversion made it 10-9 to Newcastle but it proved to be a temporary first-half blip for Brewer's men. Ten minutes later Macleod sparked an attack that led to Wihongi burrowing over from close range. Macleod added the extras on that occasion and did so again on the half-hour after directing a chip into the right corner for the flying wing Brady to dot down his debut day.

Trailing 26-13 at the interval, Newcastle summoned Jimmy Gopperth from bench duty as a replacement for Manning. There was to be no turning of the tide, though. Two more Macleod penalties, making it six in all, plus a Dwayne Peel drop goal rendered a second score for Wilson, eight minutes from time, nothing more than a consolation.

Sale: P Williams; T Brady, K Tonetti, A Tuilagi (M James, 75) B Cohen; N Macleod, D Peel (C Leck 63); A Sheridan (A Croall, 55), N Briggs, K Wihongi (J Forster, 55) N Rouse (W Lewaravu, 69), J Gaskell (capt), C Fearns, D Seymour (M Jones, 52), S Koyamaibole (S Cox, 62).

Newcastle: A Tait; G Bobo, L Eves, A Henderson (R Vickerman 55), C Amesbury; J Manning (J Gopperth, h-t), C Pilgrim (M Young 50); J Golding (K Brookes 60 min), R Vickers, T Ryan (G Shiells, 60), J Hudson (capt), T Swinson (F Levi, 66), B Wilson, W Welch (R Pennycock, 50 ), A Hogg..

Referee D Richards (RFU).


Suggested Topics
Danny Cipriani of England breaks clear to score his second try
Life and Style
New research says leaving your desk can help you to avoid serious illness
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
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

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral