Cherry and Whites wet weather win
Burns makes Sale pay penalty
Gloucester 29 Sale 3
Kingsholm - Saturday 24 November, 2012
IT was not the best of matches but a good result for Gloucester who handled the adverse weather conditions of wind and rain, plus the heavy going underfoot, better than their rivals.
Sale may have their Diamond but Gloucester had the real gem - Freddie Burns, who thanks to their total domination at the scrum which provided him with opportunity to punish the visitors’ frequent infringements to score 19 points with his metronomic place kicking.
It was feared the poor conditions could benefit the visitors but they struggled throughout conceding 21 penalties, mostly at the scrum, in a forward orientated display which despite a stuttering line out was bossed by the Gloucester pack.
The home side forwards did just what was wanted for the majority of the match securing possession, winning the breakdown exchanges allowing the back row to punch holes through the Sale defensive line.
All this enabled the ever-improving Freddie to manage the Gloucester game and carry out their plans in an efficient show of wet-weather rugby. It was not pretty but it did the job in securing the victory.
Sale conceded penalties from the very first scrum and were duly punished by Burns who helped build a half-time lead of 15-3 as the visitors continually got on the wrong side of referee Luke Pearce and made to pay the penalty. Burns continued to slot his kicks from all over the pitch.
Sale’s handling suffered in the poor conditions from Gloucester’s close marking and all they had to show at the end of the half was a solitary penalty kick form high profile signing Danny Cipriani who was totally overshadowed by Freddie Burns. It goes to show that despite Sale having had an end of season cull and recruiting top players there is no guarantee that they will all gel into a winning outfit.
Sale did get some go-forward after the break but although they did secure some possession and territory they did not do enough to seriously trouble the home defence.
However, Huia Edmonds suffered a nasty-looking injury that resulted in a lengthy stoppage before Gloucester cleared their lines.
The final quarter saw home side elect to kick for territory rather than points and were eventually rewarded when Akapusi Qera burst through a gap to score the first try.
Both front rows were changed but it made no difference to the outcome of the set-piece as Gloucester still reigned supreme forcing a series of scrums on the Sale line before the inevitable penalty try as the pressure was made to tell.
Gloucester’s spirited team’s committed showing took the sting out of the fuss generated by the departure of Bryan Redpath by performing on the pitch where and when it mattered.
A poor game that will soon be forgotten but if anyone looks at the Premiership table it is another W, that is what matters,
Saracens at Watford next week will be a totally different challenge.
Priceys Postscript -
It was no rugby spectacular by any stretch of the imagination; a dour performance of the “win ugly” category but it was clearly the agreed game plan of Nigel Davies. Gloucester decided not to take any chances in cold, wet and windy conditions and relied on a safety first game delivered exquisitely by Freddie Burns. His kicking game was almost flawless and his ability to kick the goals destroyed Sale by half-time.
The visitors were a poor side of very limited ability. Their line-out drills were strong as were their pick and drives but the rest of their play was as effective as a pound of butter against a brick wall. Their scrum was an embarrassment and Gloucester pushed and shoved it all over the park. If the referee had decided to sin bin either of their props their replacements would have fared no better. As it turned out Sale replaced their front row en masse but it got no better. The only improvement in that department was that the replacement front row acted more as a unit than their predecessors in that they popped up or buckled altogether rather than one at a time.
Still a win is a win, as they say and in the months to come our memory of how boring it was will fade completely.
Charlie Sharples, Mike Tindall (Tim Molenaar, 78), Billy Twelvetrees, Shane Monahan,
Freddie Burns, Jimmy Cowan (Dan Robson, 67),
Dan Murphy (Nick Wood, 50), Huia Edmonds (Koree Britton, 50), Rupert Harden (Shaun Knight, 59),
Will James, Jim Hamilton (capt) (Ross Moriarty, 76),
Tom Savage, Akapusi Qera, Sione Kalamafoni (Matt Cox, 73).
Try: Qera (63), Penalty (75)
Con: Burns (2)
Pen: Burns (5) - 4,11,20,22,25
Referee - Luke Pearce
Attendance - 12,501