Saturday 06, October 2012
Sale Sharks 8, Leicester Tigers 20
their last three games against the 'formidable' Leicester Tigers, Sale Sharks
had all the pressure on home turf last night (Friday Oct 5).
While Leicester had won, lost and drawn each of their last three meets, Sale had lost all three, leaving them hunting to "restore some pride and play with plenty of passion" said the team's Director of Rugby, Bryan Redpath.
Despite coming into the match as underdogs, the Sale side started the match strongly, dominating the first scrum and line-out, and teasing the crowd with some painfully close tries, before Rob Miller went on to score the first actual try of the night seven minutes into the first half.
Leicester, who before the match were eight places above Sharks in the table, didn't give their opposition an easy time but were only kept in the first half due to George Ford's two penalty goals. Vereniki Goneva received the first yellow card of the match.
Into the last ten minutes of the half Sale came excruciatingly close to producing their second try, but in the end failed to touch down. Regardless, thanks to a penalty goal from Nick McLeod earlier in play, and the momentum of the crowd's chants, Sharks finished 8-6 up going into half time.
Leicester came fighting back straight away in the second half, and within five minutes took the lead for the first time in the match. Ben Youngs made sure Leicester didn't take their foot of the pedal, and with just over five minutes of the second half gone extended Tigers lead to 14-8 with a try.
Shortly after Tigers took a healthy lead, Sale made a substitution replacing Tony Buckley with Vadim Cobilas. The change was quickly overshadowed by Leicester adding a further three points to the scoreboard as a result of yet another penalty goal by Ford 51 minutes in.
Sharks' Miller made a gutsy run with just under 20 minutes to go, sidestepping several of his opponents and lifting the crowd up, but unfortunately the team failed to convert anything from the valiant attempt and the ball was soon out of their territory.
After multiple changes on the pitch, Sale weren't having much luck, they failed to pick up points on a penalty kick, and marginally missed out on another try, topped off with Joe Ward receiving a yellow card and entering the sin bin. Trailing by nine points with just under eight minutes left they had it all to play for.
By full time Leicester had added a further three points to their total, and although the scoreline didn't provide a true reflection of the match, Leicester claimed the victory with 20-8, while maintaining their unbeaten away record in the Aviva Premiership.
Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Bryan Redpath said: "When we raised the tempo we looked pretty dangerous, but against Leicester you have to keep that and maintain it but we didn't.
"We shouldn't be down at the bottom end [of the table] but we can't think like that, we've got to take every game as it comes now. Leicester Tigers had that mentality last year and we have to have that next Sunday here against Cardiff to get that first win."
Leicester's Richard Cockerill was pleased with the resilience shown by the visitors: "Those four points will be massive to us, I think that was a good win. Defensively that's as good as we've been for a long time."
by Bryony Pearce at Salford City Stadium
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