Planet Rugby

Peel leads Sale to victory

24th January 2009 17:23

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Lee Thomas v Clermont

Full steam ahead: Lee Thomas goes on a run

A try by Dwayne Peel helped Sale to victory over Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup on Saturday, turning the match after the visitors had led for most of it.

Sale only had pride to play for as they were already out of the running for a place in the last eight.

Last weekend's 37-14 trouncing away to Munster meant they began the match with a record showing two wins and three defeats in five Pool One games.

One of those two victories had come in France against Clermont Auvergne in the first round of games, and Sale ensured a repeat.

The English side got off to a flying start thanks to wing Oriol Ripol.

Moments after putting in a brilliant try-saving tackle on South African Grant Esterhuizen, Ripol collected a pass in the Clermont 22 from flanker Luke Abrahams to go over for a try.

Fly-half Seremaia Bai got the Frenchmen off the mark with a penalty but the Sharks had territorial advantage through the opening half-hour.

Yet they could not turn that into points, other than one Luke McAlister penalty to add to his earlier conversion.

The Sharks were made to pay for failing to turn their dominance into points. Clermont exposed a weakness down the home left touchline as wing Napolioni Nalaga put in a deft chip ahead which led to centre Thomas Combezou squeezing between two defenders to grab the try.

Then, after lock Thibaut Privat was sin-binned for an infringement at a ruck, Nalaga scored a terrific try, passing two defenders on a 40-metre burst.

Bai boomed over both conversions and suddenly it was looking like revenge was on for that opening-round cup defeat.

But, right on the stroke of half-time, Clermont killed the ball at a ruck in front of their posts and deadly McAlister took his side in 17-13 down and at least back within a try of the opposition.

Handling let Sale down a couple of times on enterprising moves early in the second half, particularly when McAlister made a sizzling burst down the left only to fail to find Ripol with his touchline pass.

The Frenchmen again found themselves down to 14 men on the hour when Combezou was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle.

McAlister took advantage of that by hammering over a 40-metre penalty when Clermont were caught offside in midfield.

The mistake-riddled match, though, was becoming tedious viewing for the crowd as the ball found itself on the ground more than in the arms of receivers on both sides.

Then came another glorious moment of skill - and this one put Sale in front again.

British Lions scrum-half Dwayne Peel, who was overlooked by Wales coach Warren Gatland for their Six Nations squad, showed what the national boss will be missing as Sale turned over a Clermont ruck and the former Scarlets number nine sprinted 40 metres and past two would-be tacklers to dive in on the right.

Following another trip upstairs to the video referee, Sale were awarded another try after number eight David Tait dived in at the corner flag to seal the win.

The scorers:

For Sale:

Tries: Abraham, Peel, Tait

Con: McAlister

Pens: McAlister 3

For Clermont:

Tries: Combezou, Nalaga

Cons: Bai 2

Pen: Bai

Sale: 15 Nick McLeod, 14 Mark Cueto (Captain), 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Oriol Ripol, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 David Tait, 7 Luke Abraham, 6 Carl Fearns, 5 Brent Cockbain, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Stuart Turner, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Andrew Sheridan.

Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Rob O'Donnell, 18 Sean Cox, 19 Michael Hills, 20 Richard Wigglesworth, 21 Rudi Keil, 22 Selorm Kuadey.

Clermont: 15 Antony Floch, 14 Grant Esterhuizen, 13 Thomas Combezou, Pierre-Manuel Garcia, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Seremaia Ba, 9 John Senio, 8 Alexandre Auderbert, 7 Emmanuel Etien, 6 Jamie Cudmore, 5 Thibault Privat, 4 Christophe Samson, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Mirko Lozupone, 1 Vincent Debaty.

Replacements: 16 Simms Davison, 17 Martin Scelzo, 18 Loc Jacquet, 19 Lapandry, 20 Ludovic Rodosavljevic, 21 Pierre Mignardi, 22 Wesley Fofana.

Referee: Peter Allen (Scotland)

Touch judges: Rob Dickson (Scotland) Ronnie Dumma (Scotland)

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