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Sale secure safety as Robinson retires from club rugby

13 Apr 2007
Sale secure safety as Robinson retires from club rugby

Jason Robinson brought down the curtain on his club career with a fairytale last-minute try to beat Bath.

The Sharks had looked like they would be unable to provide the 32-year-old with a perfect send-off in his 160th game – but Robinson crossed with less than 10 seconds left to guarantee Sale’s GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP status in some style.

Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe’s try helped the hosts to a 13-9 lead at half-time but quick-fire scores from Nick Walshe and David Barnes just after the restart set Bath on their way to victory.

A try for England Under-20 wing Selorm Kuadey on his debut helped cut the lead to three points with a quarter of an hour left, but the Sharks never looked like getting the crucial score until Robinson showed why he will be missed so much at Edgeley Park.

Despite a miserable record that has seen them not win away from The Rec all season, Bath started strongly and Sale spent much of the opening quarter of an hour on the back foot.

The visitors had just an Olly Barkley penalty to show for their solid start and the England international had a hand in the Sharks taking the lead on 13 minutes.

The centre’s sliced clearance was collected by Sebastien Chabal just inside the Bath half and it took two defenders to stop him as the Frenchman fed Chris Mayor on the left.

The winger’s pass inside was held by Argentinian flanker Lobbe at the second attempt before crossing, with Lee Thomas adding the extras.

That seemed to settle the Sharks, who went close to grabbing a second try with a decent spell of pressure on the Bath goal-line, prompted by another thrust from Chabal and a Thomas break.

While he was struggling to find touch, Thomas managed to add a further two penalties, although Barkley responded with two of his own to leave it 13-9 at the break.

Bath began the second period strongly, with Robinson forced to deliberately push a Barkley grubber kick out of the in-goal area.

Following a lengthy stoppage that saw Michael Lipman stretchered off, Bath kicked to the corner and showed plenty of patience as Sale defended desperately on their line before Walshe finally crossed.

Just five minutes later, with Robinson held up on half-way, Bath nicked the ball and exploited space on the narrow side with Walshe passing to prop Barnes, who had just enough pace to take him over.

With Barkley converting both tries, the visitors led 23-13 and with Sale camped in their territory, substitute Eloita Fuimaono-Sapolu was sin-binned.

Bath defended phase after phase but Sale finally spread the ball wide with 16 minutes left, with Robinson passing for Kuadey to get over in the corner and, with Thomas kicking the conversion, the advantage was cut to three points.

They had looked doomed but Robinson burst onto the ball 30 metres out and tore past the Bath defence to give his domestic career the perfect finish.

Robinson then missed the conversion but few at Edgeley Park cared as the Sharks collected a first victory since January.

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