Planet Rugby

Sale edge past Cardiff

16th October 2009 22:01

Share:

Andy Tuilagi Sale v Cardiff

Power runner: Andy Tuilagi

Sale Sharks held on for the narrowest on Heineken Cup wins on Friday, edging past Cardiff Blues 27-26 at Edgeley Park.

A 20-minute blitz around the half-way mark produced three tries for the hosts before a spirited fight-back brought Cardiff back into the game as second try for the visitors in the 79th minute created tense finale.

Sale's win was however soured somewhat by the sight of England prop Andrew Sheridan being forced off the field with a dislocated shoulder.

After a disjointed start, a display of power running from Andy Tuilagi, Sisa Koyaimabole, Lee Thomas and Sheridan gave Sale a healthy lead before second-half revival from Cardiff saw them secure a bonus point.

19-year-old Sale lock James Gaskell also further enhanced his fast-growing reputation with a virtuoso performance.

Cardiff made the early running, dominating possession in the first quarter and shifting the ball around to keep the Sale defence under pressure.

The visiting Welshmen where good value for their 6-0 lead after twelve minutes as Ben Blair slotted two penalties to punish Sale's indiscretions on the ground.

There was no denying the Blues' early vibrancy and they almost exposed Sale down the right flank in the 15th minute. Fa'ao Filise charged down a Sale kick and the ball was gratefully scooped up by Tom Shanklin, who looked a decent bet to reach the try-line only to be given offside.

Sale breathed a massive sigh of relief but former Cardiff centre Lee Thomas was off target with the resultant penalty.

A Charlie Hodgson penalty reduced the gap before Leigh Halfpenny split the upright from the half-way line to keep Cardiff six points ahead. Halfpenny had missed two earlier attempts and the visitors really should have made more of their early advantage.

The game however would swing in Sale's favour after half-an-hour as Tuilagi and Koyaimabole consistently smashed their way through the first line of Cardiff defence.

Koyaimabole was having a stormer of game and would score the first try on 33 minutes. Sale had slowly been gaining momentum and Hodgson and Andrew Sheridan each played a part in getting the big Fijian near the line in very differing styles - Hodgson twisting and turning, Sheridan taking far more direct route.

When Koyaimabole crashed over in a pile of bodies referee Christophe Berdos was satisfied that he had done enough to get the ball down (the TMO could not offer any assistance) and with Hodgson's conversion, the hosts took the lead.

The wheels were coming off the Cardiff cart and when Andy Powell was shown yellow for a tackle without the ball on Dwayne Peel, the visitors lost one of the few men you could stand up to Sale's power running.

Sale's second try was not long in coming as the as simple move with Koyaimabole coming off the back of the scrum exploited the hole left by Powell's absence.

Gaskell took it up from Koyaimabole's off load and captain Dean Schofield finished off in support. Hodgson's conversion gave Sale a 17-9 lead at half time.

The home side struck soon after the break with exactly the same move except this time Gaskell was able to go all the way.

Powell's return added some beef to the Cardiff attack and he would add his name to the score sheet with half-and hour left to play. It was a classic line-out-maul move executed to perfection and all Powell had to do was hang up and flop over as the men in front of him rumbled forward.

Blair's conversion left the scores at 24-16 and Cardiff were right back in with a shout as the game's tempo rose higher and higher.

Hodgson hit the post with a penalty on the hour mark as Sale were denied further breathing space but after Blair landed his third penalty, Hodgson slotted a clever drop-goal to put his side 27-19 in front.

Sale then lost Lions prop Sheridan in the 77th minute and were left stunned two minutes later when Sowden-Taylor pounced on an errant throw from the line-out to touch down and Blair converted.

However, the Sharks held on with a vital victory in a tense final minute.

Man of the match: Gaskell was fantastic, scoring a try and playing vital role in another. He also produced a try-saving tackle in the dying minutes, but for sheer eye-catching power, we'll give the gong to Sisa Koyamaibole. The massive number eight got over the advantage line every time he touched the ball, usually with at least three men needed to bring him down, scoring a try and playing a leading role in creating the other two.

The Scorers

For Sale Sharks:
Tries:
Koyamaibole, Schofield, Gaskell
Cons:Hodgson 3
Pens:Hodgson
Drops:Hodgson

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries:
Powell, Sowden-Taylor
Cons: Blair
Pens: Blair 3, Halfpenny

Yellow cards: Powell (Cardiff - 34th min-tackle without ball)

Sale Sharks: 15 Nick MacLeod, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Andy Tuilagi, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Sisa Koyaimabole, 7 David Seymour, 6 Carl Fearns, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 James Gaskell, 3 Eifion Lewis Roberts, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Gavin Kerr, 18 Jack Forster, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Luke Abraham, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Mathew Tait, 23 Chris Bell.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Ben Blair, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Tom Shanklin, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Robin Sowden-Taylor, 6 Sam Warburton, 5 Scott Morgan, 4 Deiniol Jones, 3 Taufa'au Filise, 2 Gareth Williams, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c).
Replacements: 16 T Rhys Thomas, 17 Darren Morris, 18 Gary Powell, 19 Ben White, 20 Rhys Williams, 21 Gareth Cooper, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Richard Mustoe.

Venue: Edgeley Park
Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)
Assistant referees: Eric Gauzins (France), Laurent Cardona (France)
Television match official: Daniel Dartigeas (France)
Assessor: Gianni Romano (Italy)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs WaspsLeicester Tigers vs Wasps Preview
Exeter vs SaracensExeter vs Saracens Preview
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs GloucesterLondon Irish vs Gloucester Preview
London Welsh vs NorthamptonLondon Welsh vs Northampton Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale SharksNewcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Cardiff Blues vs TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Preview
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Leinster vs OspreysLeinster vs Ospreys Preview
Connacht vs ScarletsConnacht vs Scarlets Preview
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs DragonsGlasgow Warriors vs Dragons Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont AuvergneToulon vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
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