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 , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821