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
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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links