Planet Rugby

Falcons raise the white flag

20th April 2008 17:17

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Ben Foden Sale Newcastle

Sale of the Half-Century: Sharks tyro Ben Foden leaves the Falcons for dead

Sale Sharks gave Newcastle's understudies a lesson in Premiership rugby at Edgeley Park on Sunday, putting eight tries past the young visitors on the way to a thumping 53-10 win.

Chris Bell and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe both touched down twice to keep Sale's play-off hopes alive.

Centre Bell opened the scoring in the second minute and completed his brace in the 17th minute to sandwich a try from rookie wing Selorm Kuadey.

Lobbe added a fourth shortly before half-time to secure a bonus point and claimed his second after the break before further scores from Will Cliff, Ben Foden and Michael Hills took Sale's try tally to eight.

The result allowed Sale to leapfrog Leicester in the Premiership table and move up to fifth ahead of Saturday's crunch trip to Harlequins.

Philippe Saint-Andre's men need to win their remaining two games to secure a play-off spot and the trip to The Stoop will pose a far sterner test.

Newcastle - missing England quartet Jonny Wilkinson, Mathew Tait, Jamie Noon and Toby Flood through injury - struggled badly as they slid to their seventh successive Premiership defeat.

The tone was set in the second minute when Charlie Hodgson's delightful offload was collected by Bell and the centre burst through the Newcastle backline to race clear from 30 metres.

Hodgson failed to convert but a pattern quickly emerged whereby Sale were in total control.

Northampton-bound full-back Foden - who is to join the newly-promoted Saints in the summer because he wishes to play scrum-half - showcased his remarkable attacking skills from deep in ninth minute.

Foden, 22, embarked on a superb run from inside his own half which again brutally exposed Newcastle's glaring deficiencies as he outstripped a clutch of visiting players before seeing his progress by a vital last-ditch cover tackle.

It mattered not, however, as Sale quickly recycled the ball to allow Ukraine-born winger Kuadey who plunged over the line from close range.

Hodgson again failed to convert from a difficult angle out wide on the left but it was one-way traffic and Hodgson's short offload allowed Bell to waltz over the line virtually unopposed in the 17th minute.

This time Hodgson did convert but, midway through the opening period, Newcastle enjoyed a brief purple patch during which they threatened to breach the Sale on several occasions.

They did register a try on the stroke of half-time when Sean Tomes barged his way over for a score which Rob Miller, but by then Lobbe had claimed his first try.

A penalty from Miller gave Newcastle slim hope in the 51st minute but Sale hit back with a penalty from Hodgson and then claimed four more tries.

Lobbe grabbed his second, substitute Cliff took a pass from Foden to claim Sale's sixth score and Foden galloped through for a seventh.

There was still time for Hills - on as substitute - to scuttle clear for an eighth try and with Hodgson having departed, Lee Thomas landed three conversions.

The scorers:

For Sale Sharks:

Tries: Bell 2, Kuadey, Fernandez Lobbe 2, Cliff, Foden, Hills

Cons: Hodgson 2, Thomas 3

Pen: Hodgson

For Newcastle Falcons:

Try: Tomes

Cons: Miller

Pens: Miller

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Chris Bell, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Oriol Ripol, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Brent Cockbain, 4 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe (c), 3 Eifion Roberts, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Andrew Sheridan.

Replacements: 16 Sebastien Bruno, 17 Stuart Turner, 18 Dean Schofield, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Will Cliff, 21 Selorm Kuadey, 22 Chris Mayor.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Steve Jones, 14 Ollie Phillips, 13 Tom Dillon, 12 Adam Dehaty, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Rob Miller, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Russell Winter (c), 7 Ed Williamson, 6 Ross Beattie, 5 Sean Tomes, 4 Geoff Parling, 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Jon Golding.

Replacements: 16 Andy Long, 17 Micky Ward, 18 Johnny Williams, 19 Andy Perry, 20 Tim Swinson, 21 Micky Young, 22 Tom May.

Referee: Wayne Barnes

Touch judges: Paul Dix, Paul Dickens

Assessor: Colin High

Television match official: Andrew Turner

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