Sale 28 Newcastle 5: Ripol doubles up as Sale cruise past hapless Falcons

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The Independent Online

Two tries to Oriol Ripol enabled Sale to power past Newcastle at Edgeley Park last night.

The Falcons had won their past two games against Sale and began here well but two penalty goals by Daniel Larrechea gave Sale the early advantage.

The outside-half went on to kick 13 points in the absence of Charlie Hodgson, who was on the bench. For Newcastle, Jonny Wilkinson, Toby Flood, Mathew Tait, Hall Charlton and Mark Mayerhofler were all missing.

The scores would not come for Sale in the first half. They spent most of the time in Newcastle's territory but there was usually a dropped ball to break down the movement. Right at the end of the half, however, Ripol grabbed a try to make it 14-0.

Within two minutes of the restart, Ripol proved what a scintillating replacement for Mark Cueto he is by scoring an irresistible try, which Larrechea converted to put the game almost beyond the Falcons. Sale much the better side and even though the Falcons pieced together some constructive play in the second half, they were kept out by some resilient defence.

Just when it seemed as if the Falcons would keep the score to reasonable proportions, Chris Jones plunged over by the posts. But the crowd of 8,608 almost appeared glad when the Falcons claimed a late try from Matt Thompson.

Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre fears Lionel Faure is set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines after being carried off. The French prop is in hospital with a suspected broken leg.

Sale: Robinson (capt); Ripol, Mayor, Bryant (Thomas, h-t), Hanley; Larrechea, Wigglesworth; Faure (B Stewart, 36), Bruno (Gaona, 72), Evans, Jones (S Cox, 50), Day, Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Tait, Chabal (J White, 77).

Newcastle: Burke (capt) (Hoyle, 60); Reid, Noon, May, Elliott (Visser, h-t); Dillon, Grindal (Dixon, 60); Morris (Wilson, h-t), Long (Thompson 52), Ward (Morris, 77), Tomes (McCarthy, 64), Oakes, Gesinde, Woods (Wilson, 66), Dowson.

Referee: A Small (Berkshire).