Freddie Burns continued his outstanding form from the kicking tee as Gloucester Rugby comfortably disposed of basement boys Sale Sharks with a 29-3 win at Kingsholm.
Burns, who this week was named Aviva Premiership rugby player of the month for October, kicked 19 points for the home side who climbed to third in the table while Sale stay rooted to the bottom.
Akapusi Qera’s effort and a penalty try were Nigel Davies’ troops two scores in the second half but the damage was done in the first period when Sale’s ill discipline saw Burns kick five penalties to Danny Cipriani’s one for a 15-3 lead.
The Sharks now only have one win from their first nine games in the league and are yet to win away from home while the Cherry & Whites have only lost twice all season.
The first scrum of the match saw the Gloucester front three lay down a marker for things to come as the Sharks were forced to concede a penalty.
And from the subsequent attack the visitors went off their feet at the breakdown and Burns, the top scorer in the Aviva Premiership, slotted over to put the Cherry & Whites in front with five minutes played.
The home side were very much in the ascendancy in the opening stages and when an aimless Cipriani clearance was returned with interest by Rob Cook the Sharks again infringed at the breakdown and Burns made no mistake to double Gloucester’s lead.
In the 14th minute the Sharks finally started to threaten, Sam Tuitupou busting through a hole in midfield and opting to kick for the corner when a pass would have put Will Addison in the clear.
And when Sale knocked on from the subsequent lineout the chance was gone, Burns clearing his lines to relieve the pressure.
Despite the Sale improvement their scrum was still letting them down, Ross Harrison in particular struggling and Burns made it 9-0 in the 20th minute when the 20-year-old prop was again penalised.
The Gloucester fly-half was in magnificent form and his fourth penalty of the first half from near the halfway line never looked like missing.
And yet more poor discipline from the Sharks was punished approaching the half-hour mark when Mark Cueto did not release the tackler and Burns made it 15-0.
The visitors were desperate to get on the scoreboard with the interval approaching and they enjoyed their best period of the match before a 37th minute Cipriani penalty made it 15-3.
The opening skirmishes of the second half were somewhat scrappy but in the 50th minute Tuitupou came closest to the first score of the game, bursting clear after a clever Cipriani loop but the former All Black was brought down inches short of the line.
Huia Edmonds was injured making that superb tackle and after a lengthy break was taken off on a stretcher to be replaced by Koree Britton.
Despite the wide margin in the scoreline Gloucester were struggling for any real fluency in the second period but they finally killed off any hopes with a try just after the hour mark.
Jimmy Cowan’s perfectly timed flat pass put Qera through from short range and the flanker dived over for the score, converted by Burns to make it 22-3.
As the game entered the final stages Nigel Davies’ troops were all over the Sharks and their dominance in the pack told in the end with a penalty try after a spell of concerted pressure on the Sharks’ try line.