Sale Sharks won a tough encounter against Worcester Warriors to make it two out of two in pre-season friendly games. Relegated last season the Worcester Warriors side was hardly recognisable with so many on field personnel changes.
Sharks skipper Dan Braid won the toss and elected to play towards the North Stand in the first half. Both sides named 26 players for the game and had agreed a 15 minutes half time break. After an early Warriors attack Sharks broke from the back of their own scrum, Mark Easter making good yards before passing to Chris Cusiter who fed Danny Cipriani. Cipriani put in a clever cross field kick straight into the waiting arms of Tom Brady who raced cleatr and passed to Luke McLean. Luke was tackled by Sam Smith but the move was very slick and hopefully will create excitement when the season starts. Sharks took the lead on 8 minutes with a CIPRIANI penalty. The Warriors were being penalised regularly by referee Dean Richards for slowing the game down. Worcester countered and won a penalty of their own when Cipriani took a quick line out and was tackled near his own line. He passed the ball to Luke McLean who was himself tackled and conceded a penalty. Warriors opted for the line out but were then penalised and Sharks cleared the danger. Worcester came back and tried to break through the Sharks defence. They crossed the line but the player holding the ball was held up. The five metre scrum created more problems and Cipriani was penalised for a high tackle. Warriors Vice Captain EDEN kicked the penalty to level the scores at 3-3 after 15 minutes. The visitors were proving a handful and Sharks had to concede a penalty near to their own line as the Worcester pack tried to smash their way over the line. Warriors fly half EDEN kicked the penalty and in doing so gave Worcester the lead at 3-6 after 18 minutes. On 22 minutes Sharks started to make real inroads into Worcester territory and Mark Easter pounced on a loose ball. He looked clear but passed to Mac Jones who was tackled. Warriors prop Rapava- Ruskin was yellow carded shortly afterwards for a tip tackle and was not happy as he stormed off the field. On 27 minutes referee Richards awarded Sharks a PENALTY TRY as their rolling maul was stopped illegally. CIPRIANI converted and Sharks were back in the lead at 10-6. On 37 minutes Sharks full back Luke McLean left the field with blood pouring from a head wound and went straight down the tunnel with the doctor. Tom Arscott took his place at Full Back. Within a minute Tom Brady burst clear down the right hand side and fed ARSCOTT who raced over to score, Cipriani's conversion attempt had the distance and height, but not the accuracy
HALF TIME SALE SHARKS 15 WORCESTER WARRIORS 6 Luke McLean was back on the field for the start of the second half having had stitches inserted in a cut on his head. Tom Arscott returned to the subs bench having had an eventful three minutes of action, scoring a try in the process. Sharks attempted to build on their lead and put together some decent moves . On 50 minutes Ross Harrison, Jonathan Mills and Mark Jennings were introduced into the action in place of Alberto de Marchi, Nathan Hines and Sammy Tuitupou. David Seymour, Eifion Lewis Roberts, Will Cliff, Tom Arscott and Cameron Neild were brought on soon afterwards to replace Dan Braid, Vadim Cobilas, Chris Cusiter, Mark Cueto and Marc Jones. The substitutions were always going to take time to settle into the game but all those introduced were soon in the thick of the action. Referee Richards was keeping strict control of the game at all times, refereeing it under Premiership standards. Andrei Ostrikov replaced Michael Paterson on the hour and was soon putting himself about in a way that has made him a fans favourite at the club. The first points of the second half were kicked by EDEN on 65 minutes after Sharks were penalised 25 metres out from their own line. The last of the Sharks subs Nick Macleod and Joe Ford were brought on before the restart to replace Danny Cipriani and Luke McLean. On 71 minutes the now famous Sharks rolling maul was held up over the Warriors line. From the scrum WILL CLIFF raced in to score in the corner. JOE FORD lined up the conversion and kicked it perfectly, 22-9. Worcester in fairness never stopped trying and finally broke through the Sharks defence in the final minute when full back BEN HOWARD touched down. EDEN converted the try to give the visitors a late reward for their efforts, 22-16. The game was an excellent work out for Sharks and The Warriors are sure to be a major force in the Championship this season, we wish them well. Luke McLean, Tom Brady, Will Addison, Sammy Tuitupou, Mark Cueto, Danny Cipriani, Chris Cusiter, Alberto de Marchi, Marc Jones, Vadim Cobilas, Nathan Hines, Michael Paterson, Magnus Lund, Dan Braid (Captain), Mark Easter
Replacements: Cameron Neild, Ross Harrison, Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Jonathan Mills, Andrei Ostrikov, David Seymour, Will Cliff, Joe Ford, Nick Macleod, Mark Jennings, Tom Arscott
SALE SHARKS NEXT GAME IS ON SATURDAY 6TH SEPTEMBER WHEN THEY ENTERTAIN BATH IN THE OPENING ROUND OF THE BRAND NEW AVIVA PREMIERSHIP SEASON. TICKETS CAN BE PURCHASED BY PHONING 08444-994-994 OR ONLINE AT www.salesharks.com . IF YOU REQUIRE A CALL BACK, PLEASE EMAIL YOUR NAME AND NUMBER TO email@example.com
Mark Cueto has today announced that he will retire from playing at the end of the current season. Mark is currently the All-Time Leading Try Scorer in the Aviva Premiership with 87 tries having overtaken former team mate Steve Hanley's record of 75 tries in February 2013.
Despite trailing by three points at the interval, Sale Sharks European Cup campaign ended at Thomond Park to a Munster side who were desperate to finish on a winning note after failing to qualify for the Quarter Finals.
Sale Sharks' European campaign this season has been a case of what might have been but back-row forward Mark Easter insists he and his teammates can hold their heads high even if it ends without a win.
Danny Cipriani has been called up to the England EPS Squad ahead of this season's Six Nations, and Ross Harrison has been called up for the England Saxons squad for their match against Irish Wolfhounds on Friday 30th January.