Exiles power to win over Sale
September 21, 2012
Matt Corker was part of the London Welsh side that dominated Sale Sharks to win 29-19 for their first Premiership away victory
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London Welsh recorded their second win of the season with a 29-19 away victory over Sale Sharks that leaves the northern side with two losses at their new Salford City Stadium home.
The Exiles were quickly into their stride and were 13-0 ahead thanks to a Jonathan Mills try and a conversion and two penalties from Gordon Ross. Danny Cipriani pulled Sale back into contention with three penalties, but a converted Ed Jackson try and another Ross penalty meant that London Welsh were well in control at the break. Ross kept Welsh out in front with another penalty shortly after half-time and while Tom Brady scored a try that substitute Nick MacLeod converted, it was Ross who had the last word when he slotted his fifth penalty of the night on the final whistle.
Sale went into the game having lost their opening three matches, against Exeter Chiefs, Saracens and Harlequins. By contrast, their opponents were on a high after defeating Exeter - the club's first ever victory in the Premiership. And it was the Exiles who came out firing, displaying the no-fear attitude which saw them overcome the Chiefs.
The Sharks were error-ridden and lacked structure while Welsh were controlled and took their early chances with superb efficiency. Ross got the visitors off to the perfect start when he kicked an early penalty after the hosts had strayed offside, before they went 10-0 up with a close-range try.
Once again, Sale were the architects of their own downfall, allowing the Oxford-based outfit to build pressure, and they subsequently folded as Mills touched down after several phases, with fly-half Ross converting. Ross added another penalty to extend the advantage before the home side finally got a foothold in the match.
If there was one criticism that could be levelled at Welsh's performance in the opening half, it was the penalty count against them. With Cipriani in decent form with the boot, they were punished twice in two minutes as the Manchester team reduced the deficit to seven points.
However, last season's Championship play-off winners continued to play with exceptional composure and accuracy. Although Sharks stand-off Cipriani converted his third three-pointer, Ross immediately responded with one of his own to take the score to 16-9. And with the half drifting towards its conclusion, Jackson popped up for his second try in two games, Ross adding the extras, to give the Exiles an impressive 14-point cushion.
Any thoughts that Welsh would rest on their laurels were dispelled early in the second period when Phil Mackenzie broke the gain-line. Despite the move eventually breaking down, the away team were awarded a penalty soon after which Ross duly slotted between the uprights.
Cipriani was replaced after 52 minutes, Nick Macleod taking his place, to end what was a frustrating evening for the England international. But the change seemed to do the trick as the Sharks finally found some fluency. After a period of pressure on the visiting line, Brady went through one tackle before touching down. Macleod converted as Sale reduced the arrears to 26-16 with just over 20 minutes to go.
Macleod cut into that lead further with three more points, but Welsh sealed the win when Ross completed a fine personal performance with another from the tee.
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