Gloucester end longest losing run with Sale success

Gloucester end longest losing run with Sale success


Gloucester………………………………..32

Tries: Thorley 6, McGuigan 20, Ackermann 23, Atkinson 35

Conversions: Carreras 7, 24, 36

Penalties: Carreras 58, 80+3

Sale Sharks……………………………….20

Tries: Warr 16, Taylor 68

Conversions: R du Preez 16, 69

Penalties: R du Preez 31, 57

Gloucester ended their nine-match losing run in the Premiership and reignited their bid to finish in the league’s Champions Cup places with a bonus point victory over Sale.

Gloucester had their four tries wrapped up before half-time as Ollie Thorley, George McGuigan and Ruan Ackermann all crossed the whitewash prior to debutant Charlie Atkinson getting the fourth.

Sale had responded with a Gus Warr try and Rob Du Preez landed penalties either side of the break, but Tommy Taylor’s score came too late with Santi Carreras slotting two of his own penalty kicks to seal the win.

“It feels good to win a Premiership game as the run has been very painful,” Gloucester boss George Skivington said.

“However I think we’ve fully earned the win as we have been very close and in the fight in the last three league games.

“We’ve worked hard on our ruck and maul since we had a reset seven weeks ago as we had previously got it wrong by thinking that those areas had been banked, which turned out not to be the case.

“We gave away a lot of penalties in the last quarter and then Lewis Ludlow got a yellow card but fortunately we were able to ride the storm out.

“In a way I wish there was not a break as I believe a few of our combinations are coming together nicely.”

Combinations weren’t needed for Gloucester to get ahead, as Thorley seized upon Dan du Preez’s reckless offload to run in a 75-metre score having brilliantly held up Cobus Wiese minutes earlier.

Sale responded as Warr scored from inches out thanks to finding a gap through a successfully cleared ruck by his forwards, but it wasn’t long before the Cherry and Whites were back ahead as McGuigan finished from the back of a maul.

From an earlier drive Sam Dugdale had seen yellow, and Sale’s lack of numbers cost them again as Ackermann cut a superb line to go through for the hosts’ third.

And Skivington had every right to praise the combinations that came together four his side’s fourth as a beautiful two-phase move involving almost the entire backline ended with Atkinson’s debut score.

Prior to that Rob du Preez had slotted a penalty, and though he did also get another after half-time this had come following 15 minutes of attack for the visitors. When Carreras hit back with one of his own less than two minutes later the game seemed to have slipped away.

A yellow card for Gloucester skipper Lewis Ludlow gave Sale a small amount of hope, which grew after Taylor crashed his way over the line.

But unlike in some of their previous defeats the Cherry and Whites showed mettle when it mattered, with Carreras’ overtime penalty putting the seal on a first league success in 100 days and ending the longest league losing run in their history.

Gloucester celebrated wildly at the final whistle as they snatched their first league win since October against one of last season’s finalists (Picture: Getty Images)

“Our defence was poor in the first half,” Sale boss Alex Sanderson commented. “Our set-piece was poor throughout and they feasted on a couple of opportunities we gave them.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on our defensive performance but we are shipping too many points lately. We have shifted our gameplan as we wanted to improve our attacking game but we’ve lost our way a bit.

“The effort was fantastic but we need to be better as coaches and I’ll take my share of the blame for that, but we are still a better side than we showed today.

“You are only as good as your last game so you want to play again as soon as you can but realistically we need a break from playing.

“The lack of bonus points is a concern as we’ve won as many games as others but still find ourselves down the table.”

Gloucester: Carreras, Hearle, Harris, S Atkinson, Thorley; C Atkinson, Englefield; Ford-Robinson, McGuigan, Gotovtsev, Clarke, Alemanno, Ackermann, Ludlow (c), Mercer

Replacements: Blake, Elrington, Knight, Tuisue, Clement, Varney, Llewellyn, Hathaway

Sale: Carpenter, Veainu, James, Bedlow, Reed; R du Preez, Warr; McIntyre, Creevy, Schonert, Wiese, Beaumont, Van Rhyn, Dugdale, D du Preez

Replacements: Taylor, Onasanya, Harper, Bamber, Birch, Thomas, Curtis, Ma’asi-White

Referee: Luke Pearce

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