Tindall injury increases pain for Johnson and Gloucester

Sale 28 Gloucester 23
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The Independent Online

Anybody in the same room, no make that the same county, as Martin Johnson last night would have been best off scarpering sharpish to avoid what must have been an almighty vent at the injury misfortune that has again struck England.

Gloucester's Mike Tindall became the latest member of Johnson's squad to drop during his side's defeat at Sale, which came courtesy of a brilliant individual showing from Charlie Hodgson whose seven penalties helped the Cheshire side to a much needed win.

An early Hodgson penalty had been nullified for the visitors by a drop-goal from Nicky Robinson before Tindall, chasing through his own kick, pulled out of a full-speed dash and then hobbled towards the bench indicating that his night was over. He may not have been a first-choice pick for Johnson but the international experience he brings is hard to find.

"Some of the luck that is lying around for England and for Gloucester as well is hard to take" Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath said after his side's fifth loss in seven Guinness Premiership matches this term.

"Tins has had a reoccurrence of his hamstring and let's hope it is not too serious. We don't know when he will be able to come back." Following his departure, Sale's lead was enhanced by a further Hodgson penalty and then a fine try from Lee Thomas who collected Sisa Koyamaibole's clever pass to charge over from just inside the 22.

But an absent Sale defence allowed Gloucester to reply almost immediately as Rory Lawson's pass was comfortably collected by Tom Voyce who crossed in the corner.

A further Hodgson penalty made it 16-8 before Sale's hopes of winning were hugely increased by the rightful dismissal of Charlie Sharples for tackling Marika Vakacegu in the air.

Robinson kicked the first points after the break courtesy of a penalty before Hodgson kicked two himself to reassert Sale's dominance at 22-11. Will James then crawled over for Gloucester to set up a teasing finish.

Hodgson settled the nerves with two more late penalties before Greg Somerville's late try added gloss for Gloucester. With a try count of three to one with 14 men, Gloucester get the kudos, Sale most of the points while Johnson is given a headache.

Sale: Macleod; Cohen, An Tuilagi (Kennedy, 12; Kennedy, 53), Thomas, Vakacegu; Hodgson, Peel; Roberts, Jones (Schwalger, 53) Forster (Kerr, 53) Cockbain (Gaskell 49), Schofield, Fearns, Abraham (Seymour 67), Koyamaibole.

Gloucester: Voyce; Simpson-Daniel, Tindall (Sharples 16), Molenaar, Vainikolo; Robinson, Lawson (Dawiduik 76); Doran-Jones (Capdevielle 63), Lawson, Somerville, James (Eustace 74), Attwood, Strokosch, Hazell (Qera 38), Delve.

Referee: W Barnes (RFU).