Planet Rugby

Composed Gloucester sink Sharks

13th October 2007 16:53

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Leon Lloyd

Lloyd dives over to complete his brace

Gloucester continued their winning start to the Guinness Premiership season with a resounding 31-12 win over Sale at Kingsholm on Saturday.

The victory sees Dean Ryan's side stretch their lead at the summit to five points with Bath closest thanks to their success against Harlequins earlier in the day.

Leon Lloyd's two tries in as many minutes at the start of the second-half left Sale no way back against the league leaders, as Gloucester's indefatigable pack secured their fifth straight win.

The Cherry and Whites remain the only unbeaten team in the league, an invaluable record as players begin to return from the World Cup.

However, Benoit Bourrust, the young prop making his debut for Sale, was as stunned as anyone to find himself with a clear run to the line to put the Sharks in front after seven minutes.

Unable to make any headway in the line-out drive, the visitors released their tighthead and no Gloucester player picked him up before he bounced over for the try.

Shark Charlie Hodgson had trouble getting his eye in, skewing the conversion, a drop-goal and a penalty in the first 15 minutes, which proved costly as the hosts dug in to put Ryan Lamb within range.

The fly-half missed his first penalty, but slotted all four of his following attempts to give Gloucester a 12-5 lead going into the final five minutes of the first period.

By then, the home side's pack had gnawed away at their rivals and it was only down to some desperate defence and a lack of clinical finishing that prevented another score.

And against the run of play, the Sharks snatched a levelling try on the stroke of half-time, when Mike Tindall missed Sililo Martens cutting loose inside Gloucester territory and Oriol Ripol stepped inside Lloyd and then Lamb to score, with Hodgson adding his first points.

But Gloucester resumed a more precise side after the break, the pack eating up easy yards and frustrating Sale lock Sean Cox into a professional foul that earned him ten minutes in the sin-bin.

From the penalty line-out drive, Lloyd scored the first of his brace, working a neat loop with Nick Wood, with the second coming after centres Anthony Allen and Tindall had drawn the defence in the middle of the park.

Restored to the full compliment, Sale went on the attack, but slow ball lost them yards and Gloucester's defence drove them back before they wasted their lengthy possession and overlap with a forward pass.

Gloucester duly responded when hooker Olivier Azam caught Julien Laharrague and turned over ball, leading to Lamb's punt being taken by replacement winger Iain Balshaw, who sent Olly Morgan on his way to the line.

Balshaw would have scored himself in the final stages had Allen's pass come a little sooner but Gloucester, with Fijian back row Akapusi Qera now on for his debut, refused to move out of Sale's 22 in the hunt for the bonus point.

And with time getting away from the visitors, Hodgson tried to unleash a break from the in-goal area to no avail, and a risky quick line-out ten metres from their line came to nothing as the hosts prolonged their 100 per cent record.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:

Tries: Lloyd 2, Morgan

Cons: Lamb 2

Pens: Lamb 4

For Sale:

Tries: Bourrust, Ripol

Con: Hodgson

Yellow card: Sean Cox (Sale, 42 mins)

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Leon Lloyd, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 James Bailey, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Alasdair Strokosch, 6 Peter Buxton (c), 5 Alex Brown, 4 Will James, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Nick Wood.

Replacements: 16 Olivier Azam, 17 Christian Califano, 18 Marco Bortolami, 19 Akapusi Qera, 20 Mike Prendergast, 21 Willie Walker, 22 Iain Balshaw.

Sale: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Julien Laharrague, 13 Elvis Seveali'i, 12 Rudi Keil, 11 Oriol Ripol, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Sililo Martens, 8 Genaro Fessia, 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Dean Schofield (c), 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Lionel Faure.

Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Ben Evans, 18 Christian Day, 19 Jason White, 20 Richard Wigglesworth, 21 Rhys Jones, 22 Chris Bell.

Referee: Ashley Rowden

Touch judges: Andrew Pearce, Martin Buck

Assessor: Brian Campsall

Television match official: Brian Abrahams

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