Sale see off rivals Newcastle
January 3, 2014
Sam Tuitupou is hit hard by the Falcons' defence
© Getty Images
Sale Sharks beat Newcastle Falcons 16-8 at Kingston Park on Friday evening.
With just one win in their last 20 visits to the north east, Sale scored a crucial first half try through winger Tom Brady with Danny Cipriani adding a conversion and penalty. The former England player did not enjoy a great return after missing last week's game because of flu and he missed a second-half sitter before being replaced by Scott MacLeod who made sure of the win with a penalty seven minutes from time.
The win moves Sale up to top half of the table and well way from the relegation battle in which the Falcons renaming embroiled after failing to build on Andy Saull's try which came just six minutes after Brady's strike.
Newcastle's new signing Sinoti Sinoti made an immediate impact on his debut collecting Cipriani's kick off to barrel his way up the touchline and then cleverly collect Dwayne Peel's box kick with one foot in touch to make sure it was a line-out back in Sale's half. Keiran Brookes' surge through the middle of a line-out led to a Phil Godman penalty after just two minutes, but two careless penalties in quick succession led to Cipriani levelling the score in the fifth minute.
Noah Cato's poor decision to run it out of defence led to a penalty but Cipriani's kick was short and Falcons skipper Ally Hogg was involved twice in a 70 metre move which was halted when Newcastle lost the ball at the breakdown. However, they won a penalty at the following scrum and it was Godman's turn to miss out on the kick at goal, albeit from a much better position than Cipriani.
Sinoti was proving himself a crowd favourite with another strong run and then cleverly keeping the ball in play from a long Sale kick but he could do little to prevent the visitor's opening try down his flank in the 23rd minute, Tom Brown surging over from Jonny Leota's pass. There was a hint of obstruction which helped make the overlap, but the score stood and Cipriani struck a superb conversion from wide out for 10-3.
Sinoti again broke through the first tackle to set up a good attacking position for the Falcons and they opted to go for the corner with successive penalties and they were rewarded with MacLeod's front of the line-out take ending with Saull being driven over for the try to make it 10-8. Almost immediately, Newcastle were carved apart by Leota and Sammy Tuitupou and Carlo del Fava was sinbinned for killing the ball on the Falcons line.
Sale opted for a scrum instead of kicking at goal but the Falcons turned over the ball when it squirted out only to gift it back to Sale, with Blair hammering an attempted clearing kick into the back of his hooker Scott Lawson forcing Tait to concede a five metre scrum. It looked odds-on Sale would make it count this time but referee Andrew Small penalised the Sharks for dropping the scrum and Newcastle were able to clear.
The Falcons tried to run down the half-time clock only to concede another careless penalty and they were undone by Sale's rolling maul in the dying seconds of the half for Cipriani to stretch the lead to 13-8 with the penalty. A squall just after the restart made conditions difficult but both sides could hardly use that as an excuse for some aimless kicking, although that could not be said of a kick through by Peel and Tait's scrambling clearance under real pressure.
Sale full back Rob Miller was lucky to escape a card when he took out del Fava off the ball and the Falcons lock had to leave the field after treatment as the inability of either side to control the ball in the admittedly difficult conditions proved embarrassing. Cipriani's penalty miss from slap bang in front of the posts with 18 minutes left was also humiliating and could have been destructive for Sale's hopes but he was replaced by MacLeod who virtually made sure of the points with his 73rd minute penalty.
Newcastle battered away in the closing minutes but the lack of a cutting edge which has plagued them all season was all to evident and Sale never looked in any trouble.
Sale's Tommy Taylor tries to force his way past Phil Godman © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September