Match Report

- - 14

Newcastle Falcons -

Saturday 28th Nov 2015

Tries from props Rob Vickers and Jon Welsh helped Dean Richards’ side to a gutsy Aviva Premiership draw, Danny Cipriani firing wide with what would have been a match-winning penalty for the home side in the final play of the game.

A much-improved defensive performance saw the Falcons keeping a clean sheet on the try front on a day when the wind and rain ensured a tight contest.

Five Cipriani penalties provided Sale’s points as they failed to win at the AJ Bell for the first time in all competitions this season, his last-minute effort blowing wide from the right as the northern rivals were left with an equal share of the spoils.

Appalling weather conditions in Manchester dictated this was never going to be a free-running open spectacle, Sale assuming the early advantage when Cipriani kicked the first of his penalties from the right.

With neither side wanting to be caught in possession in their own half there was no shortage of kicking from hand, Adam Powell’s vision spotting a gap in the Sharks’ defence as the centre punted for a line-out in the left corner.

Mark Wilson’s expertly-executed choke tackle earned his side further field position in Sale’s red zone, Mike Delany making it count on the scoreboard as the fly-half dabbed over a 12th-minute penalty from out in front on the 22.

The Kiwi departed the fray with injury shortly after as Tom Catterick entered from the bench, Cipriani booting Sale back in front with a penalty from 30 metres.

Newcastle’s attacking intent still remained despite the greasy ball, Michael Young’s low kick down the centre of the field forcing the hosts into a full scramble mode as Tom Arscott knocked-on near his own line.

That led to a period of sustained Newcastle attack as the visitors battered round the fringes, the video referee eventually giving them the thumbs-up when Rob Vickers was awarded a sniffer’s try from a ruck on 25 minutes.

Catterick’s conversion was blown wide by the gale, the two-point margin allowing Sale to snatch back the lead when Cipriani made it three penalties from three.

Nili Latu’s handling from the base of the scrum and George McGuigan’s darts at line-out time ensured a sturdy set-piece platform for Dean Richards’ side, but there was further frustration with the final play of the half when Cipriani’s fourth penalty put them 12-8 down.

Despite having the wind at their backs for the second half Newcastle were a further three points down when Cipriani’s fifth penalty punished the visitors for allowing the ball to bounce in their own 22.

But it was to be Sale’s last points of the afternoon as a hungry Falcons side went about eating into the deficit.

The energetic Marcus Watson came in from his wing in the search for possession, Chris Harris making an impact from the bench with his powerful running.
Sean Robinson, Will Welch and Mark Wilson were among the many pivotal performers in a huge collective forward effort, Young charging down a clearance kick as they built the pressure in Sale’s 22.

But it was from the front-row union that their second try came, Welsh using a ruck down the left-hand side as a launch pad from which to propel himself over the line.
Catterick nailed the conversion from out wide, he and Cipriani both seeing late penalties blown wide as the sides were left honours-even at the culmination of a bruising 80 minutes.