Sharks travelled to Worcester in the hope of building on the previous weeks emphatic 33-10 win over Biarritz. Worcester were buoyed by their 9-9 draw away to Oyonnax in Eastern France. Worcester hadn't won a game this season and were looking for a win themselves to kick start their season under Dean Ryan.
Steve Diamond made eight changes after the win over Biarritz, giving some players a welcome rest and some an opportunity to impress.
Sale started brightly and were soon on the offensive. On four minutes a promising move went through several phases before Vadim Cobilas unfortunately knocked on.
Two minutes later Worcester were penalised at the ruck and Danny Cipriani lined up a 35 metre penalty which he kicked successfully. Straight from the kick off though Worcester were awarded a penalty themselves which former Munsterman Paul Warwick kicked to level the scores 3-3.
On fourteen minutes Sharks domination at the scrum earned them another penalty, which Cipriani lined up but his 42 metre kick struck the post and the danger was cleared by the Warriors.
On 17 minutes Sale put together and excellent attacking move, Mark Cueto cut through the home defence but was brought down. From the recycle Cipriani put in a big pass out to Rob Miller who scorched in for a great try. Danny converted and Sharks led 3-10.
Worcester tried to get a foothold in the game but Sharks defence was excellent. The home side were under severe pressure from the Sale forwards and referee McMenemy was penalising them regularly. On 25 minutes Cipriani sliced a penalty attempt from 25metres out 3-10.
The Sharks forward domination was very evident on 30 minutes when a rolling maul sent the Warriors defence backwards at a rate of knots. New signing Galarza was yellow carded and from the scrum Sharks set up another rolling maul and were awarded a penalty try - the third in two games- Cipriani converted and Sharks led 3-17.
Play was held up on 36 minutes when Warriors prop Andress fell heavily and needed treatment. Thankfully he recovered to return to the action.
On 37 minutes Arscott tore through the home defence and he fed Peel who dived in at the corner for Sharks third try. Cipriani's conversion attempt from the touchline was majestic and Sharks were now hunting a bonus point try 3-24.
Half Time Worcester 3 Sale Sharks 24
The weather changed during the interval and the second half started in pouring rain.
Sharks were soon down to 14 men when Sammy Tuitupou was adjudged to have tip tackled Richard de Carpentier. Many in the crowd thought it harsh as Sammy didn't drive the player down onto the grass.
Warriors made the most of their one man advantage when a series of phases produced an overlap and Alex Grove touched down in the corner. Warwick's conversion attempt missed the target 8-24.
Worcester were playing their best rugby in the game at this stage, in driving rain and were rewarded on 52 minutes with their second try which was the result of a rolling maul. Mike Williams touched down, Warwick converted and suddenly it was game on at 15-24. Warriors continued to dominate proceedings which must have been down to a talking to by Dean Ryan at the break.
The Worcester resurgence seemed to attack as an alarm clock for Sharks who crossed for the bonus point try on 59 minutes through Mark Easter. Cipriani's conversion attempt missed but Sharks had moved two converted tries in front 15-29.
Steve Diamond made several substitutions to the team with 20 minutes remaining. Sale then pushed forward and Worcester's threatened renaissance was ended as Sharks moved forwards regularly.
With three minutes remaining the rain stopped and out came the sun! Worcester tried in vain to get a losing bonus point but Sharks defence held firm.
Final Score Worcester Warriors 15 Sale Sharks 29
Rob Miller, Tom Arscott, Andy Forsyth, Sam Tuitupou (off 52mins), Mark Cueto, Danny Cipriani (off 71mins), Dwayne Peel (off 71mins), Eifion Lewis Roberts (off 71mins), Marc Jones (off 59mins), Vadim Cobilas (off 59mins), Andrei Ostrikov, Kirill Kulemin, Jonathan Mills, David Seymour, Mark Easter
Replacements: Tommy Taylor (on for Jones 59mins), Aston Croall (on for Lewis Roberts 71mins) Henry Thomas (on for Cobilas 59mins), Tom Holmes, Andrew Hughes, Nathan Fowles (on for Peel 71mins) , Joe Ford (on for Cipriani 71mins) , Johnny Leota (on for Tuitupou 52mins)
Scoring Sequence (Worcester first): 0-3, 3-3, 3-8, 3-10, 3-15, 3-17, 3-22, 3-24 (Half Time) 8-24, 13-24, 15-24, 15-29
|Worcester Warriors Score Card|
|Sale Sharks Score Card|