Gloucester break their duck

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 21:28
Large sale v gloucester match 800

PREMIERSHIP REPORT: First-half tries from John Afoa and Charlie Sharples and the flawless kicking of Greig Laidlaw helped Gloucester break their Premiership duck.

The  26-13 victory at Sale Sharks on Friday also saw them move into the top four.

The Sharks had already claimed the scalp of Harlequins at their fortress of the AJ Bell Stadium this season but despite Sam James and Cameron Neild scores they were always behind against the Cherry & Whites.

Afoa went over early after fine work from Billy Burns and while James summoned an immediate response, Sharples' score just before the interval proved to be something of a killer blow.

And the nerveless kicking of Laidlaw in the second half then kept the Sharks at bay despite Neild's effort from a rolling maul.

This was the first competitive win for David Humphreys' side since April and after a narrow loss to Leicester Tigers and a draw with Worcester Warriors - these four points will bring much confidence.

Gloucester are the only side in the last 13 Premiership clashes to have won at the AJ Bell Stadium and they didn't seem to be showing any signs of fear in the opening skirmishes.

Burns' searing break left Halani Aulika in his wake and when he was collared he fed Afoa and the former All Black sprinted clear under the posts for the game's first try inside nine minutes.

Laidlaw added the extras and the Cherry & Whites were 7-0 ahead before Sale had even fired a shot.

But not for nothing are the Sharks so formidable at home and only four minutes later they had their response, Saxons centre James powering over down the right as the hosts finally clicked into gear.

Dan Mugford could not add the extras however and Gloucester stayed two points clear, and that was soon 10-5 when Laidlaw slotted a penalty after Neil Briggs failed to roll away.

Mugford was the hero with the boot against Quins last time out but his second attempt of the night drifted wide just before the half-hour mark and Will Addison then took over the duties and showed him how it was done.

That meant the Sharks only trailed 10-8 with half-time approaching but the Cherry & Whites summoned the killer blow on the stroke of the interval.

Ben Morgan's initial break established the territory and then Tom Marshall's superb kick in behind found no-one at home except Sharples and the ball sat up perfectly for the winger to dot down. Laidlaw's conversion made it 17-8 at the break.

Steve Diamond's Sharks needed the first score of the second half and Neild duly provided it - burrowing over at the back of a classic Sharks rolling maul.

But Addison could not add the extras and at 17-13 the game was delicately poised entering the final quarter.

However, instead of the Sharks mounting a late challenge it was the dead-eyed kicking of Laidlaw that put this game to bed - the Scotland skipper slotting three penalties in the last quarter of an hour to put the Cherry & Whites home and hosed at 26-13.

The scorers:

For Sale Sharks:
Tries:
James, Neild
Pen: Addison

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

Teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Will Addison. 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Paolo Odogwu, 10 Dan Mugford, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Josh Beaumont (captain), 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 (captain), 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

Source: @premrugby

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Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 20 16 1 3 79
Exeter Chiefs 20 13 3 4 74
Saracens 20 15 1 4 72
Leicester Tigers 20 12 0 8 57
Bath 20 11 0 9 53
Northampton Saints 20 9 0 11 48
Harlequins 20 10 0 10 47
Gloucester 20 7 2 11 46
Newcastle Falcons 20 8 0 12 40
Sale Sharks 20 6 1 13 36
Worcester Warriors 20 5 2 13 31
Bristol 20 3 0 17 19