Planet Rugby

Sharks bite hard into Bristol

19th September 2008 22:20

Share:

McAlister tackles Barnes

Luke McAlister: Earning his glory

Sale Sharks once again came away from a Guinness premiership match tryless, but with four precious points, with a 9-6 win over Bristol at the Memorial Ground on Friday.

More importantly, the Sharks are yet to concede a try in three games, and thus sit proudly atop the Guinness Premiership - overnight on Friday at least.

By contrast, it was the west country club's ninth successive league defeat, a sequence stretching back six months, and underlined the fight they could face to avoid relegation.

But they can take heart from a fiercely-committed display that meant Sale could never relax.

Penalties in each half from Adrian Jarvis and Ed Barnes kept Bristol in the contest, yet McAlister's long-range accuracy ensured an away-day triumph.

It was not a night when Sale threatened through their galaxy of international backs, and rugby director Philippe Saint-Andre will demand a huge improvement before Sharks host Gloucester next Friday night.

But he will be satisfied that his team at least gained the required result, even if their performance was some way below-par.

Bristol boss Richard Hill made five changes from the side thumped 31-13 by Harlequins last weekend, with internationals Kevin Maggs, Robert Sidoli and Andrew Blowers among those players left out.

Sale though, recalled the likes of Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel and England World Cup wing Mark Cueto as they targeted a third successive Premiership victory.

It was a tall order for the home side, but they started promisingly as wing Tom Arscott tested Sale's defence with a powerful run before Jarvis drifted an opening penalty chance narrowly wide.

Sale looked to play with pace and width, utilising Peel's endeavour and industry, and they moved ahead through a long-range McAlister penalty after Barnes was sin-binned.

Barnes' show of dissent saw Bristol temporarily reduced to 14 men, yet Jarvis slotted an equalising penalty that Bristol's organised approach fully merited.

Sale though, still looked capable of creating chances, and Bristol gained a reprieve when Sharks lock Chris Jones knocked on with the line beckoning.

Sale full-back Mathew Tait and Bristol wing David Lemi both required treatment as half-time approached following a crunching midfield collision, yet a disappointing 40 minutes ended deadlocked.

Jarvis did not appear for the second period - Royal Marine Greg Barden replaced him, with Barnes moving to fly-half - but it made little difference to the overall standard.

The game proved an endless procession of wayward tactical kicking, and with referee David Rose happy to blow his whistle at regular intervals, entertainment value was in short supply.

McAlister edged Sale ahead through a 47th-minute penalty, and Bristol placed an increasing emphasis on Lemi as their main - and often solitary - attacking weapon.

Sale though, failed to move far enough ahead on the scoreboard to enjoy a comfortable closing quarter.

And there were several anxious moments endured by the visitors - notably a missed Barnes penalty on 74 minutes - before they could celebrate their anticipated win.

Sale ended the contest on top, pressing for a try during the closing seconds, but resilient Bristol defence kept them out, giving Hill at least some cause for satisfaction.

The scorers:

For Bristol:

Pens: Jarvis, Barnes

For Sale:

Pens: Hodgson, McAlister 2

Bristol: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Neil Brew, 12 Ed Barnes, 11 David Lemi, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Graeme Beveridge, 8 Dan Ward-Smith, 7 Joe El Abd (c), 6 Alfie To'oala, 5 Nathan Budgett, 4 Mariano Sambucetti, 3 Jason Hobson, 2 Scott Linklater, 1 Alex Clarke.

Replacements: 16 David Blaney, 17 Peter Bracken, 18 Roy Winters, 19 Redford Pennycook, 20 Haydn Thomas, 21 Vunga Lilo, 22 Greg Barden.

Sale Sharks: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Luke McAlister, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Rory Lamont, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Sebastien Chabal, 7 Luke Abraham, 6 Kristian Ormsby, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Eifion Roberts, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Andrew Sheridan,

Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Stuart Turner, 18 Sean Cox, 19 Jason White, 20 Richard Wigglesworth, 21 Chris Bell, 22 Oriol Ripol.

Referee: David Rose

Touch judges: Stuart Terheege, Kevin Stewart

Television match official: Laurie Bryant

Assessor: Tony Spreadbury

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954