THE WIN they so badly wanted but they also got what they didn’t
want. Yet another serious injury to add to the already substantial
This time it was another key front row figure — on form Chris
Fortey, who was stretchered off with a broken ankle, to join fellow
top hooker Ollie Azam amongst the long term injured requiring surgery.
Add to this
other front row members Phil Vickery and Terry Sigley, who are still
missing and the Cherry and Whites are looking decidedly thin on the
ground in the power house in particular.
Opponents Sale have similar shortages with absentees, caused by injuries
and international call-ups, so this contest was more of an even match
than recent games in that respect but it does highlight the potential
problems caused by trying to manage a busy fixture list with a small
squad. Whether this is brought about by financial constraints or the
salary cap or an overcrowded season is another matter but it cannot
be good for the club game in the long term.
On the positive side Gloucester did secure five valuable points from
this welcome win, which coming after three depressing defeats, was
a major tonic for the hard pressed coaching and backroom staff and
the players before going back into the Heineken Cup competition.
Last week Jake Boer was a late withdrawal and this week Mark Cornwell
had to pull out on match day, having injured his neck in training
- hardly the ideal type of pre-match preparation for an important
game but fair play the team rose to the challenge.
Byron Hayward gave the visitors an early lead with a straightforward
penalty but Gloucester’s pack put in some sterling work to put
pressure on the Sale defence. Alex Page and Simon Amor provided a
more workmanlike half back partnership than of late and Marcel Garvey
was on hand to gather a well weighted cross kick from Amor to gather
the ball and evade the clutching hands of his opposite number Steve
Hanley to score the first try.
Disaster struck in the twentieth minute when Chris Fortey was injured
in a tackle from Sale’s big lock forward Dean Schofield. Referee
Ashley Rowden immediately took both teams off the field when it was
apparent that the injury was serious and the game was stopped for
almost ten minutes.
Behind the scrum Gloucester threw the ball about with pace and enthusiasm
but all too often were let down by poor handling and ball retention.
Terry Fanolua was all hard work and honest endeavour but after having
earlier spilled the ball a couple of times, he seized upon a palm
inside from Garvey to charge in for a try which Amor converted.
Sale did manage to claw their way back into the game though and former
Gloucester centre Robert Todd sliced through the home side’s
poor cover defence to close the gap to 12-8 just before half-time.
The other Gloucester old boy, Byron Hayward kicked another penalty
for Sale early in the second half but a period of sustained Gloucester
pack pressure brought a third try scored by Fortey’s replacement
James Parkes, who was driven over for a try which Amor converted.
Full back Jon Goodridge enjoyed a better game than of late and got
Gloucester’s bonus point try five minutes before the end which
Amor converted from wide out. Byron Hayward did kick a further penalty
for Sale but Gloucester took the full points in their first win since
the Autumn internationals started.
Thank goodness Gloucester’s international trio
are due back next week but the injury list is still a big worry with
European competition taking centre stage next with Cardiff art Kingsholm
in another evening fixture for Sky.
Garvey, Fanolua, Parkes, Goodridge
J. Goodridge, M.Garvey, T. Fanolua, N.Mauger, S. Kiole,
S. Amor, A.Page,
C. Bezuidenhout, Rep: N. Wood, C.Fortey rep: J.Parkes, G. Powell,
A. Eustace, P. Buxton,
J. Boer, J. Forrester, A.
Referee - Ashley Rowden
LAST SEASON'S REPORT