Planet Rugby

Chabal injury clouds Sale win

02nd November 2007 22:15

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Chabal Sale v bath

Sebastian Chabal on the charge for Sale

Sebastien Chabal sustained an injury on his return from World Cup duty to overshadow Sale's 25-10 EDF Energy Cup Pool B victory over in-form Bath at Edgeley Park on Friday.

The iconic France number eight was making his first appearance of the season after the World Cup and his trademark bullocking runs ensured the Sharks dominated up front in the opening quarter.

That he was forced off with only 20 minutes on the clock after appearing to strain his neck was the only negative on an otherwise perfect night for Sale.

Philippe Saint-Andre's men thoroughly deserved to end Bath's five-match winning run with a result which encouraged hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of an oft-maligned competition.

Sale were destroyed by Cardiff in their Pool B opener last week but they fully deserved this success.

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson again proved their talisman, landing 20 points with a flawless kicking display.

England prop Andrew Sheridan also made a telling impact on his first appearance of the season, as did Argentina's Lobbe brothers, Juan Fernandez and Iganacio Fernandez. Their performances drew rich applause from a sizeable crowd of 8,782 which included retired Sale and England legend Jason Robinson.

Chabal embarked on a typically marauding run inside the opening minute when he collected possession on halfway and overpowered a couple of Bath players before being stopped in his tracks.

The Frenchman's aggressive running set the tone for a period of sustained Sale pressure which saw Hodgson land a delightful drop-goal in the sixth minute and then add two penalties shortly after.

A 9-0 advantage was just reward for Sale's early dominance but the pendulum swung firmly towards Bath as the half wore on.

They got off the mark in the 20th minute with a penalty from fly-half Shaun Berne and their hopes of a recovery were further bolstered when Chabal was forced off moments later.

Bath brought on Nick Abendanon shortly before the half-hour mark and his introduction offered the visitors fresh attacking impetus.

But, after Tom Cheeseman missed a drop-goal and Berne erred with a 40-metre penalty, Sale extended their advantage through another Hodgson penalty.

And right on the stroke of half-time, Steve Hanley's delightful chip and chase down the left flank took him deep into Bath territory.

A simple offload left Abendanon floundering and allowed Chris Bell to saunter over the line in the corner.

Hodgson added the extras and then added another penalty shortly after the restart. Yet Bath again came back strongly and prop Lorne Ward squeezed over the line from a rolling maul for a try which Berne converted.

Hodgson added another penalty on the hour mark as Sale enjoyed a spell of sustained pressure which did not produce any further tries, while Bath replacement Mike Baxter was sin-binned in the closing stages for a high tackle on Sililo Martens.

The scorers:

For Sale Sharks:

Try: Bell

Con: Hodgson

Pens: Hodgson 6

For Bath:

Try: Ward

Con: Berne

Pen: Berne

Yellow card: Baxter (73, Bath, high tackle)

Sale Sharks: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Julien Laharrague, 13 Chris Mayor, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Steve Hanley, 10 Charlie Hodgson/Lee Thomas, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Sébastien Chabal, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Juan Martin Fernŕndez Lobbe, 5 Chris Day, 4 Ignacio Fernŕndez Lobbe (captain), 3 Stuart Turner, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Andrew Sheridan.

Replacements: 16 Sébastien Bruno, 17 Benoît Bourrust, 18 Sean Cox, 19 David Tait, 20 Sililo Martens, 21 Lee Thomas/Charlie Hodgson, 22 Oriol Ripol.

Bath: 15 Michael Stephenson, 14 Matt Banahan, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tom Cheeseman, 11 Ian Davey, 10 Shaun Berne, 9 Nick Walshe, 8 Zak Feaunati, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Jonny Faamatuainu, 5 Martin Purdy, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Lorne Ward, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 David Flatman.

Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Laurence Ovens, 18 Andy Beattie, 19 Chris Goodman, 20 Mike Baxter, 21 Jack Cuthbert, 22 Nick Abendanon.

Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)

Touch judges: Martin Buck (England), Alan Hughes (England)

Assessor: Brian Campsall (Wales)

Television match official: Andrew Turner (England)

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