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Match Report: Sale Sharks 15 Newcastle Falcons 15

28 Nov 2015
Match Report: Sale Sharks 15 Newcastle Falcons 15

Danny Cipriani missed a match-winning penalty with the final kick of the game as Sale Sharks were held to a 15-15 draw at home to Newcastle Falcons.

The results means Dean Richards’ side picked up their first two points of the Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign and moved off the bottom of the table.
 
Four penalties from Cipriani saw Sale lead 12-8 at half-time despite Rob Vickers grabbing the only try of the opening 40 minutes.
 
Another score from Jon Welsh and Tom Catterick’s conversion had moved Falcons level with ten minutes remaining before the Falcons fly-half and Cipriani both missed penalties to win it.
 
A driving maul from the first lineout of the game gifted Sale an easily kickable penalty for Cipriani after just a minute and a half of play.
 
A scrum for Newcastle gave the visitors a prolonged run at their host's try-line and they were eventually rewarded with a penalty on the Sharks' 22, kicked by Mike Delany to draw the scores level after 13 minutes.
 
The rain hammered down on the AJ Bell Stadium forcing errors from both teams as the ball slipped from hands, kicks skidded off-course and penalty-scorer Delany hobbled off the pitch
 
Sale regained their advantage when Bryn Evans got a hand onto a Falcons lineout throw, Tommy Taylor drove forward and Falcons were penalised for not rolling away, leaving Cipriani to take the three points.
 
However, with 15 minutes left to play in the first half, Newcastle broke through the Sale line in the centre of the pitch, bodies piled on the ball and eventually Vickers dotted down to take the lead for the first time as a desperate Sam Tuitupou tackled the referee in the confusion.
 
The high wind prevented new kicker Catterick from adding to the two-point advantage. 
 
As the first half entered its final ten minutes, the possession and territory was still all with Newcastle until a turnover for Sale saw promising youngster Sam James kick the ball for a rare visit into the opposition's 22.
 
It was the opportunity Sale needed as the backline finally came to life, a beautiful pass from Cipriani to Will Addison nearly creating a try in the corner before a well-timed tackle took the ball out of play. The referee went back for an earlier penalty though and Cipriani opted to kick for three points and re-establish the hosts' lead with six minutes left in the first half. 
 
Cipriani then had a fourth penalty as the clock turned red, following a strong passage of play from the Sharks, and the hosts left the field with a four-point advantage.
 
A territorial battle characterised the opening of the second half as both sides began with boot to ball as the rain continued to hammer down and no one seemed confident to try any running rugby.
 
Sale looked the more dangerous after nine minutes of cautious play from the two sides. Catterick made the mistake of letting Haley’s kick bounce and was pounced on by the full-back and Tom Arscott.
 
Penalised for holding on, Falcons gave Cipriani his fifth penalty of the game and the fly-half increased his side's lead to seven points.
 
Marcus Watson led the charge for Falcons and after a forwards drive, prop Welsh went over from close range. Catterick's conversion was good and the scores were level once again with seven minutes left to play.
 
Falcons were then awarded a penalty less than a minute later, which Catterick opted to kick for the posts but the ball swung wide and Sharks were granted a reprieve. 
 
And with less than 90 seconds left on the clock Cipriani kicked for touch and the resulting lineout and shove led to a penalty against Falcons. 
 
Cipriani looked to have sent the ball through the posts but it veered at the last moment and the fly-half roared with frustration as the clock turned red and the score finished all square, 15 points apiece. 

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