Planet Rugby

Sale grind past London Irish

20th December 2013 21:36

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Mark Jennings of Sale Sharks tackled

Solid win: Sale Sharks

Sale Sharks moved into the top half of the Premiership table after recording a 15-3 win over London Irish on Friday.

First-half tries from Tom Brady and Dave Seymour helped Sale on their way to a comfortable win, in a game which was played in horrific conditions.

Stuart Lancaster, who was making his first trip to the AJ Bell Stadium so far this season, will have found it difficult to judge Danny Cipriani's England prospects, as Sale's fly-half found place kicking difficult as the wind swirled all around him.

Irish's pre match preparations were dealt a blow when new signing CJ Van Der Linde dropped out of their starting line-up through injury.

Their misfortune prior to the game was replicated on the pitch, as they slumped to their fifth league defeat in a row and eighth of the season.

Cipriani had luck on his side for the game's opening points, as his kick in behind the Irish defence rather fortuitously bounced over the head of Andrew Fenby to allow a simple run in for Brady.

The game needed one team to have a slice of good fortune, with the previous 20 minutes littered with unforced errors and broken play, which wasn't helped by a wet ball and a driving wind.

Steve Diamond's men were up for a fight though, as the Sale pack forced Irish backwards from a line-out to drive over. Former skipper Seymour was at the bottom of the pile to claim Sharks' second try.

The visitors' woes weren't helped by a gale which was forcing them backwards on their own kicks. Ian Humphreys' restart blew straight over his head to give Sale possession straight back.

Cipriani managed to secure just his second successful kick out of six eight minutes into the second half, this time judging the wind perfectly to extend Sale's lead to 15 points.

Chris Hala'ufia's sin-bin made Irish's second-half task even more difficult, who couldn't take advantage with the wind behind their backs like Sale had in the first period.

That said they did finally get on the scoreboard when Humphreys knocked over a penalty to put Irish back in touch.

Sale had chances to put the final nail in the coffin. The fact they didn't mattered little, as their fifth win of the season leaves them an impressive sixth in the Aviva Premiership table.

The scorers:

For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Brady, Seymour
Con: Cipriani
Pen: Cipriani

For London Irish:
Pen: Humphreys

Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Mark Jennings, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Kirill Kulemin, 20 Andrei Ostrikov, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Phil Mckenzie.

London Irish: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Ian Gough, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 CJ Van der Linde, 2 Jimmy Stevens, 1 Matt Parr.
Replacements: 16 Mike Mayhew, 17 John Yapp, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Nic Rouse, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Alex Lewington, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Darren Allinson.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Chris Sharp, Luke Pearce
Television match official: Trevor Fisher
Timekeeper: Tony Turner
Assessor: Brian Campsall

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