Planet Rugby

Irish cling on for victory

Sale v London Irish Chris Hala ufia

The going gets tough at Edgeley Park.

02nd October 2009 22:13

Share:

Sale v Irish ferocious

Clinging on: Sale and the Exiles go to battle

London Irish clung on tenaciously - and once too ferociously - to beat Sale Sharks 11-8 in the Guinness Premiership at Edgeley Park on Friday.

Sailosi Tagicakibau claimed his sixth try of the season as London Irish moved to the top of the table.

The Samoan flier struck in typically predatory fashion in the 37th minute, touching down in the left corner after a brilliant break from former Sale centre Elvis Seveali'i.

However, the victory was marred by what appeared to be a serious leg injury sustained by wing Adam Thompstone early in the second half, and he was taken off on a stretcher clearly in distress.

Tagicakibau's try had helped Toby Booth's men into a 11-5 lead after a first half in which Sale battled gamely and briefly led when Welsh prop Eifion Roberts touched down in the 30th minute.

A penalty from Sale's stand-in fly-half Nick Macleod cut the gap to three points shortly after the restart, but Irish - again expertly guided around the field by scrum-half Paul Hodgson - held out with relative comfort for their fourth win in five games.

The Exiles arrived at Edgeley Park in the midst of a rich run of form which had seen them claim 14 tries and average 35 points a game in their previous four outings.

Although full-back Peter Hewat was off cue with early drop-goal and penalty attempts, Irish began to slowly demonstrate why they are so highly rated.

Deputy fly-half Chris Malone dovetailed effectively alongside Hodgson in midfield and a penalty from Hewat finally got the visitors off the mark in the 23rd minute.

Yet Sale, now without a win since their opening-day victory against Leicester, fashioned an initially impressive response.

Samoan centre Andy Tuilagi embarked on a delightful jinking run which took him from inside his own half and past a clutch of Irish defenders.

His progress was eventually halted, but on the half-hour mark Sale's purple patch was translated into points when Roberts emerged from a thicket of players to touch down after excellent play from the home pack.

Macleod, handed a rare start at No 10 in the absence of the injured Charlie Hodgson and Lee Thomas, failed to convert the try and the pendulum quickly swung back in Irish's favour.

In the 37th minute, a brilliant run down the left channel by Seveali'i cut the home side to pieces and he showed intelligence to usher the supporting Tagicakibau over in the corner.

The try capped a breathtaking move which summed up the Exiles, though Hewat's conversion attempt rebounded off a post before he added a penalty from distance shortly before half-time.

Sale director of rugby Kingsley Jones was not happy with the officiating during the first half and made his displeasure known during the break.

His players showed similar fire to pin Irish back after the restart and a penalty from Macleod soon cut the gap to three points.

Thompstone was lost to a serious leg injury but Irish were dominant at the breakdown and had few problems keeping Sale at bay.

Indeed, genuine tryscoring opportunities grew scarce for both sides, but Irish were forced to hold on in the closing stages after replacement Peter Richards was sent off following a clash with Neil Briggs.

Sale - who now face a demanding Heineken Cup clash in Toulouse - could not make their numerical advantage pay and were left with only a losing bonus point to show for their efforts.

The scorers:

For Sale:
Try: Lewis-Roberts
Pen: MacLeod

For London Irish:
Try: Tagicakibau
Pens: Hewat 2

Red card: Richards (77, London Irish)

Sale Sharks: 15 Marika Vakacegu, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Andy Tuilagi, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Dave Seymour, 6 James Gaskell, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Brent Cockbain, 3 Eifion Roberts, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Jack Forster, 18 Gavin Kerr, 19 Neil Briggs, 20 David Tait, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Johnny Kennedy, 23 Oriol Ripol.

London Irish: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Elvis Seveali'i, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Chris Hala'Ufia, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Richard Thorpe, 5 Bob Casey (c), 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Danie Coetzee,1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Clarke Dermody, 17 David Paice, 18 Faan Rautenbach, 19 Andy Perry, 20 Declan Danaher, 21 Ryan Lamb, 22 Peter Richards, 23 Alfredo Lalanne.

Referee: Greg Garner

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs AustraliaBarbarians vs Australia Preview
USA vs New ZealandUSA vs New Zealand Preview
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Preview
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs MunsterCardiff Blues vs Munster Preview
Scarlets vs ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Preview
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gonsUlster vs Newport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615