Worcester 13 Sale 25: Hodgson puts boot into Worcester

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The Independent Online

A late try from the winger Mark Cueto put a gloss on Sale's victory over a spirited Worcester side at Sixways last night. The England fly-half Charlie Hodgson contributed 10 points with the boot.

Worcester, despite giving Sale plenty to think about in the second half, remain rooted at the bottom of the Premiership without a win this season.

John Brain, Worcester's director of rugby, said: "Some of the rugby we played tonight should have been good enough to win. I've been here when we've lost the first six games at the start of the season, and we're playing better now than we were then."

The Sale director of rugby, Philippe Saint-André, said: "We played some fantastic rugby but they are structured and well organised. I'm very pleased for my team, we showed a lot of control and courage."

Worcester found themselves up against it from the start. There was a knock-on, followed by a mistake at a lineout, then there was an error at a ruck and Charlie Hodgson banged over a penalty. Sale's quick running and polished handling extended Worcester to breaking point.

At the next opportunity, Hodgson slipped the ball between two defenders for Chris Bell to touch down but Shane Drahm hammered home a penalty when Worcester next made it into Sale territory.

Cueto then set up a ruck, the ball was moved to the right for Juan-Martin Lobbe to feed Jason White who crossed. Hodgson converted and Worcester were 15-3 down, and remained so going into the break.

Worcester picked themselves up with a try in the right corner from Aisea Havili. Shane Drahm converted and Worcester were within five points. It was to get better. Sale's Chris Jones was shown a yellow card and Worcester, with Drahm slotting a penalty, were now only two points in arrears. Hodgson took it back to five with a penalty and then Cueto hit the gas, racing across in the right corner.

Worcester: Tries Havili; Con Drahm; Pens Drahm (2). Sale: Tries Bell, White, Cueto; Cons Hodgson (2); Pen Hodgson (2)

Worcester: Best (Delport, 18); Havili, Rasmussen, Lombard, Garvey; Drahm, Powell; Morris (Fortey, 67), Hortey (Gotting, 68), Taumoepeau (Morris, 71), Gillies, Murphy, Sanderson (capt), Harding (Blaze, 79), Hickey (Horstmann, 63)

Sale: J Robinson (capt); M Cueto, M Taylor (Mayor, 77), C Bell, B Foden; C Hodgson, S Martens (Wigglesworth, 67); A Sheridan (Stewart, 76), Bruno (Briggs, 76), Stewart (Turner, 57), C Jones, C Day, J White, M Lund (Tait, 62), J-M Lobbe.

Referee: M Fox (Leicestershire)