Gloucester win at Sale

Date published: September 16 2016

Gloucester moved up to fourth in the Premiership standings after they got the better of Sale at the AJ Bell Stadium, winning 26-13 on Friday.

First-half tries from John Afoa and Charlie Sharples put Gloucester ahead at the break, with Sale only having a Sam James try and penalty to show for their efforts.

Cameron Neild hit back for Sale in the second-half, but a series of Greig Laidlaw penalties took the game away from Sale and secured the 26-13 victory.

Going in search of their 200th Premiership victory, it was backs to the wall for Sale as Gloucester burst out of the blocks in the early exchanges.

Having seen off the initial wave though, Afoa put the visitors ahead after a break downfield from Billy Burns opened up space. Laidlaw added the extras, a seven point lead coming after nine minutes.

But they were pegged back almost immediately though, with James equalling the try tally. Dan Mugford couldn't draw his side level though, with the conversion missing the posts.

The Cherry and Whites responded well though, winning a penalty on the ground which Laidlaw did well to get through. In truth, the first half was mainly even, with Sale showing why they are so difficult to beat at home – their last defeat coming 13 games ago against Gloucester.

Though it was all getting a little scrappy as Sale looked to get try number two, Will Addison cut the gap down to a couple of points after a foul in the air.

Gloucester took a nine point lead into the second half though thanks to Sharples. After finding themselves held up on the five metre line, Tom Marshall's kick through found the run of Sharples who slotted down. Laidlaw's extra two saw a 17-8 lead the scoreline at the break. 

Sale hit back 15 minutes into the second-half, equalling the try scoring through Neild. A driving maul forced Gloucester back and back, with Neild the man in possession as Sale forced their way over the line. Addison failed to convert, but a four point gap with plenty of time to play left the game perfectly balanced.

The home side had the play and the belief after that, but the visitors held off the momentum that was built up by Neild's try.

Both teams continued to trade kicks, desperate to gain yards and impose themselves as time wound down, though neither side was able to make any decent ground.

Steve Diamond's men were left with a seven point gap to make up though, Laidlaw taking advantage after his side were penalised from their own line-out. And almost in the blink of an eye, a four point gap became 10 as the Gloucester and Scotland skipper put three more points through almost straight from the restart.

Laidlaw was in fine form and with three more points making it 26-13, Sale's chances of making it back to back wins had sailed away.

The scorers:

For Sale:
Tries: James, Neild
Pen: Addison

For Gloucester:
Tries: Afoa, Sharples
Cons: Laidlaw 2
Pens: Laidlaw 4

Sale: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Will Addison. 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Paolo Odogwu, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 David Seymour, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Jonathan Mills, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts
Replacements: 16 Ross Harrison, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Andrei Ostrikov, 19 Magnus Lund, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Nev Edwards, 23 Sam Bedlow

Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Billy Burns, 9, Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Lewis Ludlow, 5 Joe Latta, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Cameron Orr, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Gareth Evans, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 James Hook, 23 Billy Twelvetrees

Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Simon McConnell
TMO: Sean Davey