Planet Rugby

Tigers come up one short

31st October 2008 21:47

Share:

Brett deacon v Sale

Struggling for space: Leicester's Brett Deacon

Leicester Tigers' chances of progression into the EDF Energy Cup semi-finals were slim at best, and they would have been one try short even if results had gone their way, after beating Sale 30-20 at Welford road on Friday but only scoring three tries.

An injury-time try from substitute Jordan Crane put a gloss on an unconvincing Tigers performance and Cardiff's win over Bath meant Leicester failed to get out of the group stages for the first time in three years.

A scratch Sale side came away from the game with a lot of credit and Chris Bell's brace of tries kept them in the game right up to the closing seconds.

With little or no hope of reaching the semi-finals, both sides took the chance to rest key players.

There was still plenty of quality on show, however, with the likes of Dwayne Peel and Jason White starting for Sale and England World Cup winner Lewis Moody in the Tigers rank.

It was the 30-year-old openside's first start in nine months having undergone operations to both Achilles and hip.

And he was soon in action from a bouncing kick-off as Leicester launched a dangerous attack which only ended when Johne Murphy knocked-on five metres out.

Sale also began in enterprising fashion, turning down an early penalty right in front of the posts in favour of a tap which ultimately came to nothing.

Leicester's South African fly-half Derick Hougaard - making his first appearance in front of the Welford Road crowd - opening the scoring with a 40-metre penalty on 10 minutes and added to it three minutes later to put his side 6-0 up.

Tigers marched down field from the resulting kick-off and, when Sale's scrum disintegrated for a third time near their own line, prop Rob O'Donnell was shown a yellow card.

Flanker Michael Hills made way for substitute prop Ross Davies but it did his pack little good as they popped up from the set piece once more and referee James Jones awarded a penalty try which Hougaard converted.

Phillipe Saint Andre's men blew a wonderful chance to get back in the game on 25 minutes. Seru Rabeni was caught trying to run the ball out of his own 22 and turned over but Rudi Keil's pass to Ed Styles flew straight into touch.

Tigers fly-half Julien Dupuy limped off just before the break after picking up a knock at the bottom of a ruck and was replaced by 19-year-old Ben Youngs.

Sale began the second half full of confidence and Nick McLeod got the scoreboard ticking over with penalties on 44 and 46 minutes to pull it back to 13-6.

Four minutes later, it was very much game on when Bell hacked forward a Tigers knock-on in midfield and had just enough gas to outrun Tom Varndell and win the dive for the touchdown. McLeod levelled the scores by converting the extras.

The score stung Tigers into action and they regained their lead on 56 minutes. Moody fed Varndell who kicked forward, gathered and passed to Tom Youngs who powered over from five metres out. Hougaard's kick made it 20-13.

But Sale refused to lay down and they levelled again with 12 minutes to go. Another mistake in midfield allowed Bell to gather a high ball and sprint in from 50 metres out. McLeod kicked the conversion to make it 20-20.

A Hougaard penalty settled the home side's nerves and Crane made the most of a mix-up in the Sale three-quarters to dive under the posts with the last action of the game. Hougaard's sixth successful kick of the evening finished the scoring.

The scorers:

For Leicester:

Tries: penalty try, Youngs, Crane

Cons: Hougaard 3

Pens: Hougaard 3

For Sale:

Tries: Bell 2

Cons: MacLeod 2

Pens: MacLeod 2

Yellow card: O'Donnell (17, Sale)

Leicester: 15 Matt Smith, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Seru Rabeni, 12 Tom Youngs, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Julien Dupuy, 8 Craig Newby, 7 Lewis Moody, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Ben Kay (c), 4 Richard Blaze, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Boris Stankovich.

Replacements: 16 Mefin Davies, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Marco Wentzel, 19 Jordan Crane, 20 Ben Youngs, 21 Ayoola Erinle, 22 Sam Vesty.

Sale Sharks: 15 David Doherty, 14 Selorm Kuadey, 13 Rudi Keil, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Ed Styles, 10 Nick McLeod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Jason White, 3 Stuart Turner, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Rob O'Donnell.

Replacements: 16 Dan Ward, 17 Ross Davies, 18 James Gaskell, 19 David Tait, 20 Will Cliff, 21 Mark Atkinson, 22 Jonny Kennedy.

Referee: James Jones (Wales)

Touch judges: Huw David (Wales), David Williams (Wales)

Assessor: Brian Leigh (England)

Television match official: Brian Abrahams (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Preview
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs CastresToulouse vs Castres Preview
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Preview
Counties Manukau vs OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Preview
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00