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Gloucester Rugby 34 Sale Sharks 27

13 Sep 2014
Gloucester Rugby 34 Sale Sharks 27

Jonny May inspired a second-half comeback as Gloucester Rugby saw off Sale Sharks at Kingsholm to collect their first win of the Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign.

Tom Arscott got Sale off to a flyer before an on-song Danny Cipriani had a hand in laying on further tries for Chris Cusiter and Luke McLean.

Greig Laidlaw’s boot kept Gloucester in touch before May touched down to draw them level and then set up Cook to put the Cherry & Whites ahead for the first time.

A penalty try secured the result and while a bonus point proved elusive for Gloucester, Cipriani grabbed one for Sale with the visitors’ fourth try.

An overthrown lineout handed Sale possession following an early back-and-forth between James Hook and Cipriani and the latter then produced a superb kick.

Arscott gave chase after his well-placed chip to the corner, beating Charlie Sharples in a foot-race and touching down – but Cipriani couldn’t add the extras.

The visitors then showed their cutting edge and once again Cipriani was at the heart of it, gathering his own chip-and-chase with one hand before finding Cusiter.

The Scotland scrum-half headed for the line and managed to avoid a last-ditch tackle from Hook to bundle over, before Cipriani this time bisected the posts with his conversion.

A turnover at the lineout gave Kingsholm something to shout about but an unfortunate bounce into touch prevented Henry Trinder from threatening the Sale line.

They did, however, earn a penalty on 25 minutes with Sale penalised for holding on and Laidlaw duly sent over a tricky kick to get the Cherry & Whites on the board.

But the pattern soon repeated itself, McLean breaking clear from the halfway line to dot down after a quick Cipriani tap-and-go caught the hosts flat-footed.

Laidlaw sent over another penalty to reduce the deficit to 11 points at half-time and a third arrived immediately after the restart, Sale penalised in-front of the posts straight from kick-off.

Powerful running from Ben Morgan and replacement flanker Ross Moriarty soon had the away side sweating, but Trinder dropped the ball in contact when powering towards the line.

Referee Greg Garner did however call it back for a Cherry & Whites penalty and Laidlaw took his points tally to 12, before the hosts first try finally arrived.

A missed pass in midfield found Trinder and he made amends for the earlier fumble with a neat grubber, May sprinting down the left wing to dive on the ball – though Laidlaw’s missed conversion left the contest all-square.

Sale were ahead again on the hour mark, Cipriani’s penalty sailing between the posts after the Cherry & Whites were off their feet, but it didn’t last long.

May broke free and found Cook, who was subject to a last-ditch Tom Brady tackle in the corner – but the try was awarded after consulting the TMO and Laidlaw converted from the touchline.

Laidlaw took the lead to seven with another penalty after Eifion Lewis-Roberts was caught offside at the ruck and a penalty try put the hosts further ahead.

A powerful five-metre scrum forced the Sale pack to buckle under the pressure on their own line and Laidlaw did the honours with a simple conversion.

Cipriani jinked his way through the Gloucester line shortly after the re-start and converted his own try to keep the contest alive but they couldn’t find one more to earn a dramatic draw.

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