Planet Rugby

Worcester circle the plughole

02nd April 2010 22:01

Share:

Gillies v Sale

Craig Gillies is brought down by the Sale defence

Worcester's Premiership status was left hanging on Friday after a 17-3 defeat at relegation rivals Sale left them rooted to the bottom.

Sale's remaining home games are against sides chasing play-off or Heineken Cup qualification in the form of London Irish, Wasps and Gloucester and their penultimate fixture, away at fellow strugglers Leeds, is likely to have a big say in their destiny.

The Sharks led 9-0 at the break thanks to a penalty and two drop goals from Charlie Hodgson. Fly-half Willie Walker (twice) and wing Chris Pennell were off target with penalty attempts for the Warriors.

Walker eventually got the visitors on the board with a penalty but it was not enough for Mike Ruddock's side as Hodgson added another penalty and wing Mark Cueto crossed for a try to seal the win for the hosts.

Sale brought Welsh duo Eifion Lewis-Roberts and Lee Thomas in at prop and centre respectively following their 38-0 thumping at London Irish. England duo Cueto and Mathew Tait were included among the backs.

Worcester handed a start to academy product Greg King at centre with wings Pennell and Rico Gear and hooker Chris Fortey also in the starting XV.

Hodgson missed an early chance to give the home side the lead when he pushed a 45-metre penalty to the right of the posts in the ninth minute.

The Warriors looked to keep ball in hand and some powerful carries from flanker Tom Wood and lock Craig Gillies got them to within metres of the Sale line and it took a magnificent tackle from Tait to snuff out a promising attack.

Pennell then fell short with a penalty from just inside the Sale half after Lewis-Roberts was penalised for taking down the scrum and fly-half Walker was also off target just moments later as the game entered the second quarter scoreless.

The lack of confidence of both sides was making for a scrappy spectacle but Hodgson did at least get the scoreboard ticking with a 28th minute penalty after Sale had stolen a ball at the lineout.

Tait then made a superb break as he eased round Worcester second row Greg Rawlinson and, although that attack ground to a halt, Hodgson made sure the Sharks got some points with a close-range drop goal.

The momentum was with the home side and Worcester's frustration increased as Walker missed with another penalty five minutes before the break.

Scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth then sparked a Sale counter-attack after the visitors were turned over and Hodgson again took the option to put points on the board with his second drop goal 90 seconds before half-time.

Worcester looked to get back in the game straight from the restart as scrum-half Jonny Arr broke into the 22, but prop Adam Black was stopped inches short.

Gear then launched another attack and this time the Warriors got on the board through a Walker penalty.

But Walker then wasted a good attacking possession by fluffing a drop goal after more good work by Wood.

Tait, by far the brightest attacking spark on the field, showed good footwork to make a break in midfield but Hodgson failed to make it pay as he missed a straightforward penalty after Worcester were penalised for taking out runners as they chased the fly-half's speculative chip.

Hodgson made amends with his second penalty in the 64th minute before another wonderful break from Tait set up the crucial try.

The centre shimmied through a statuesque defence and, after he found Hodgson in support, Cueto barrelled over in the corner.

And Worcester were even denied a potential losing bonus point as replacement Chris Cracknell was stopped just short of the line by some desperate Sale defence.

The scorers:

For Sale:
Try: Cueto
Pens: Hodgson 2
Drop goals: Hodgson 2

For Worcester:
Pen: Walker

Sale: 15 Marika Vakacegu, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Kristian Ormsby, 7 David Seymour, 6 Sisa Koyamaibole, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Jack Forster, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Eifion Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Gavin Kerr, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Marc Jones, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Jonny Kennedy, 23 Dafydd James

Worcester: 15 Chris Latham, 14 Chris Pennell, 13 Dale Rasmussen, 12 Greg King, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Willie Walker, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 Pat Sanderson (capt), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 Greg Rawlinson, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Chris Fortey, 1 Adam Black.
Replacements: 16 Callum Black, 17 Aleki Lutui, 18 Olivier Sourgens, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Chris Cracknell, 21 Ryan Powell, 22 Matthew Jones, 23 Alex Grove.

Referee: Wayne Barnes

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs Australia14:30
USA vs New Zealand20:50
More International Match fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup 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
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs Munster17:15
Scarlets vs Zebre18:00
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
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
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
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
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
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
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615