Rugby round-up: Mark Cueto sets up Sale's winning start

 

Not the start Gloucester would have wanted. Kingsholm is the Cherry and Whites' castle but Sale stormed it in the opening match of the Premiership season, going home with a 22-16 victory.

Sale got off to a flying start, leading 14-3 by half-time thanks to a try from Mark Cueto and penalties by Nick Macleod and Tom Arscott. They continued in command after the interval with Andy Forsyth adding a try. Freddie Burns chipped away at Gloucester's deficit, landing two penalties, but the Sharks never led by less than three and they sealed victory with a drop goal from Joe Ford.

In the Rugby Championship South Africa broke their losing streak on Australian soil and how. They scored their biggest away victory over Australia, crushing them 38-12 in Brisbane

The prop Coenie Oosthuizen set South Africa on their way with a try after only six minutes. Late tries from Jean de Villiers, Zane Kirchner and Willie Le Roux and 18 points from the boot of Morne Steyn piled on the misery for Australia at Lang Park.

"I thought our defence was awesome," Heyneke Meyer, South Africa's coach, said. "I truly believe we won the game firstly in our minds and secondly without the ball because the whole message was we needed to make more than 150 tackles.

"If they get momentum they are a very good side. I was very happy the way we attacked at the end. We really believed we could win. We wanted to show if you work together nothing is impossible."

The win put South Africa on top of the championship with 14 points from three wins, one point ahead of New Zealand, who they play on Saturday. The Kiwis had a comfortable 28-13 victory over Argentina in Hamilton in a match that revolved around two players.

New Zealand's fly-half Daniel Carter became the first man to reach 1,400 Test points but the victory was tempered by a serious knee injury to Richie McCaw, their captain. McCaw, who had only recently returned to rugby after a six-month sabbatical, suffered what their coach, Steve Hansen, thought was a torn medial ligament in his left knee after the prop Charlie Faumuina had fallen on the flanker's leg in a tackle.

"It looks like he's done a medial. How bad? It's not grade one [the lowest rating], it will be a two, three or four," Hansen said. McCaw will miss the rest of the tournament.

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