Gloucester's semi-final hopes took a serious dent on Friday as they were hammered 32-9 by Sale Sharks at Salford City Stadium.
Gloucester's semi-final hopes took a serious dent on Friday as they were outscored five tries to none by Sale Sharks, who won 32-9 at Salford City Stadium.
A Dwayne Peel brace of tries helped Sharks leapfrog London Irish, as they earned a bonus-point win to virtually seal their Premiership survival.
After their flying start, Sale ended the game camped in the Gloucester half, against 14 men for the last ten minutes, scoring twice in that period.
Gloucester's failure to clear their lines well enough in the early stages led to the Sharks taking full advantage, as first of all, Johnny Leota in the first minute, and then Peel six minutes later, touched down after charge downs.
Those tries sandwiched Gloucester's first points of the night – a Freddie Burns long-range penalty goal. He added a second fifteen minutes in to bring his side back to six points behind.
Cameron Shepherd took Sale into the break with a fine try, taking an inside pass from Tuitupou – which referee David Rose had to refer to his TMO – before sidestepping the last line of defence. Macleod added the extras for a half-time lead of 22-6.
It took a while for Gloucester to come back at the Sharks, but Burns added a third penalty on 54 minutes, before missing an opportunity to further reduce the deficit five minutes later.
A moment of controversy came just after the hour, as Leota twisted over a Monaghan tackle, and touched down just short of the line; another decision made by the TMO.
Sale piled the pressure on the Gloucester line in their search for the bonus-point, and with scrum-half Dave Lewis yellow carded ten minutes from the end, it was only a matter of time, and Peel earned it with six minutes to play, charging for the line after a line-out maul.
The final play came from Mark Cueto's try, latching on to a Danny Cipriani chip over the defensive line, for their biggest Premiership win of the season.
Gloucester meanwhile, face an uphill struggle to reach the play-offs after a game where they failed to capitalise on their previous four-match winning streak.
Tries: Leota, Peel 2, Shepherd, Cueto
Cons: Macleod 2
Pens: Burns 3
Yellow card: Lewis
Sale Sharks: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Will Addison, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Daniel Braid, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Al Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Andy Powell, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Tom Brady
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Jonny May, 13 Mike Tindall (c), 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Tom Savage, 5 Will James, 4 Lua Lokotui, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Yann Thomas, 19 Ben Morgan, 20 Andy Hazell, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Henry Trinder, 23 Charlie Sharples.
Venue: Salford City Stadium
Referee: David Rose
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe & Roy Maybank
TMO: David Grashoff