Sale, 23 Gloucester, 9: Sale do the hard yards before Chabal adds the gloss
Saturday 27 September 2008
sale Sharks' record breaking victory over Gloucester was perhaps the best example yet of why rugby's new laws are becoming loathed by supporters across the land. This encounter saw Sale become the first team not to concede a try in four successive Premiership matches and while this worthy record needs to be applauded, Sale director of rugby Phillipe Saint-Andre and opposite number Dean Ryan both raised concerns afterwards about the new ruck law which turned this tie into a glorified kick-a-thon.
The first half was a perverse rugby-tennis hybrid as both sets of backs were too scared to run the ball from their own lines for fear of getting into contact. In the past, players could crash into rucks at will but the new instruction to remain on your feet means possession can be lost much more easily – hence the vast amount of defensive kicking on display. The 6-6 half-time scoreline – a couple of penalties each for Olly Barkley and Luke McAlister – spoke volumes for the lack of attacking ambition from both sides in a dreadful opening 40 minutes.
"I am still very sceptical about these new rules," Saint-Andre said. "I am quite concerned because you just have ping-pong for 80 minutes. At every contact area it is a bit of a gamble at the moment."
The second half improved on the first as Sale proved they can score the tries to compliment their defence. Captain Sébastien Chabal scored a simple try thanks to a great offload from Dwayne Peel soon after the break but a Barkley penalty kept Gloucester in touch.
A Sale penalty from Lee Thomas extended the home side's lead and as the end approached McAlister off loaded to David Doherty after a superb run and he crossed to finish Gloucester off, helped by Thomas' conversion.
"That's the nature of the game now. I thought they were excellent under the current interpretations of the law," Ryan said, straining under the burden of diplomacy. "A lot of those kicks we would have counter attacked under the last season's laws but it is very difficult to do that this season."
Sale: Tries Chabal, Doherty; Penalties McAlister 2, Thomas; Conversions McAlister, Thomas. Gloucester: Penalties Barkley 3.
Sale: Lamont, M Tait, McAlister, Thomas, Doherty, Hodgson, Wigglesworth, Faure, Bruno, Turner, Cox, Cockbain, Ormsby, Abraham, Chabal. Replacements: Briggs, Roberts, Schofield, White, Peel, Bell, Cueto.
Gloucester: Balshaw, Simpson-Daniel, Watkins, Barkley, Vainikolo, Lamb, Lawson, Dickinson, Azam, Young, Bortolami, Brown, Buxton, Hazell, Narraway. Replacements: Titterrell, Wood, Satala, Strokosch, Cooper, Walker, Tindall.
Referee: A Small (London).
Berbatov flees Bulgaria following kidnap threat
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund player ratings: Who was the star man at the Emirates? Alexis Sanchez? Santi Cazorla? Or Yaya Sanogo?
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Per Mertesacker delighted with defensive display
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund match report: Yaya Sanogo and Alexis Sanchez are on target as Gunners secure impressive victory
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 1 'Kidnapped boy may have been abused and murdered by VIP paedophile ring,' say police
- 3 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
- 4 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict