Cueto marked his landmark appearance with an early try
22 February 2014, 03:49 pm ::
By Paddy von Behr
Worcester Warriors 12 Sale Sharks 24
Mark Cueto struck early on his 200th Sale Sharks appearance in the Aviva Premiership as they brushed aside bottom club Worcester Warriors at Sixways.
Sale were in control from early on, when Cueto's try added to a Danny Cipriani penalty, and kept the home side, who have enjoyed a recent upturn in form, frustrated throughout.
Cipriani added two more penalties and converted Dan Braid's try before Mariano Galarza grabbed a pair of scores for Worcester - but Dean Ryan's side's wait for an Aviva Premiership win goes on.
Cipriani drew first blood inside two minutes, sending a penalty between the posts, but a Tom Brady fumble inside his own 22 soon had Sale under pressure.
However, Sale soon broke into the hosts' half and some powerful forward work allowed Johnny Leota to selflessly offload to Cueto who crossed over on his landmark appearance.
Cipriani's conversion flew wide but he soon made amends, sending a penalty sailing through the uprights from the halfway line after 13 minutes.
Warriors began to assert themselves and Jonny Arr fell narrowly short of the try line, before an unusually wayward Chris Pennell sent a pair of penalties wide.
The home side continued to force Sale into mistakes at the breakdown, with Pennell this time opting to kick for touch twice in quick succession.
And Worcester soon came close to grabbing a try as Pennell linked up neatly with Alex Grove but Josh Drauniniu's resulting chip-and-chase was thwarted by a Sale defender.
Ravai Fatiaki was next to come close, crashing through before being held up narrowly short of the line near the right touchline, before Agustin Creevy appeared to bundle over the line.
The decision was sent up to the TMO, with just four minutes to the break, and the Warriors were denied their reward after the hooker was deemed not to have grounded the ball.
Fly-half Ryan Lamb, who signed from Leicester Tigers just a fortnight ago, replaced Paul Warwick at the break but his opposite man soon extended Sale's lead with a third successful penalty.
Sale's pack then took the initiative and, after applying some heavy pressure inside the Warriors' 22 it was Dan Braid who finished off a powerful rolling maul, with Cipriani adding a simple conversion.
Pennell turned down two more kickable penalties in search of that elusive try and it finally arrived after 62 minutes, through Galarza - but the full-back missed yet another kick with the conversion.
Replacement fly-half Nick McLeod soon slotted a penalty but Worcester would have more joy before the final whistle when, after a lengthy TMO decision, Galarza was awarded a second score.
Lamb duly converted to bring Worcester within 12 points of the visitors but they could not find another try to pinch an unlikely bonus point.