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Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Saturday, 4 October 2008 16:47 UK

Sale 17-18 Blues

Sale (11) 17
Try: Keil Pens: Macleod 4

Blues (10) 18
Tries: Halfpenny, Mustoe Con: Blair Pens: Blair, Sweeney


Blues wing Richard Mustoe (R)
Richard Mustoe (R) barges his way over to claim the match-winning try

Replacement wing Richard Mustoe's try in the last minute of normal time saw the Blues edge past a second-string Sale side in the EDF Energy Cup.

Richie Rees set up Leigh Halfpenny for a superb early try, before Richard Wigglesworth and Oriol Ripol sent in Rudi Keil for an equally fine score.

The boot then dominated, with Nick Macleod putting Sale 17-10 ahead.

Ceri Sweeney got a penalty back, before Jamie Roberts and Nick Robinson sent Mustoe home in a desperate finale.

The Sharks, who had never lost to the Blues at home, made 15 changes from their last Guinness Premiership outing.

They started strongly, though, winning penalties as the lacklustre Cardiff-based region's scrum creaked.

Blues old boy Macleod, making his full Sharks debut after a summer move, opened the scoring with an early penalty, before a dazzling strike from the visitors.

Rees used Ben Blair as a decoy to throw a superb dummy before finding Halfpenny on the outside, the in-form wing cutting back to cross under the posts.

Not to be outdone, Sale struck from turnover ball 60m out, Ripol combining well with Wigglesworth, the former sending in Keil.

Kickers Macleod and Blair were having trouble in the difficult wind, Blair proving particularly erratic as shots at goal went astray.

Each player exchanged successful penalties and the Sharks weathered Marc Jones' sin-binning to take an 11-10 lead at the break.

606: DEBATE
Macleod extended the lead with two more penalties before new Blues kicker Sweeney pulled one back from in front of the posts after an extended attack by the Welsh side.

The Blues stepped up their assaults as the clock ran down, Roberts sparking an attack that was squandered by replacement Robinson, who ignored an overlap to fire a badly-placed high kick to the corner.

The fly-half made amends in the last minute of normal time, though, he and Roberts having a hand in the move that found Mustoe on a midfield switch move, the replacement having the power to crash over for the crucial score.

To compound Sale's misery, Ripol suffered a broken arm in the closing seconds of the game.


Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre:
"I'm very disappointed because we deserved to win. For the safety of the players, I couldn't pick guys who played on Wednesday against London Irish.

"We got back on Thursday at three o'clock in the morning and have got three games in nine days.

"Now we've lost three players for a few months - Cox, Bruno and Ripol - so it's been a bad four days.

"But I'm proud of the players because we had 12 guys from the academy out there who did well against a lot of quality Blues players.

"We competed well, and in the end of the game we maybe could have won."

Blues director of rugby Dai Young:
"We were very poor, there's no excuses for that.

"Sale played extremely well and stopped us playing, were really competitive at the tackle area, really good defensively and didn't give us any tempo.

"The only real positive is that we came away with a win, we struggled to go beyond three or four phases."


Sale: Macleod; Kuadey, Keil, Tuilagi, Ripol; Wigglesworth, Leck; Faure, M Jones, Halsall, C Jones, Cockbain, White, D Tait, Fearns.
Replacements: Royle for Kuadey (50), Kennedy for Tuilagi (68), Shaw for C Jones (75), Gaskell for White (68), Davies for D Tait (36). Not Used: O'Donnell, Holmes.

Sin Bin: M. Jones (36).

Cardiff Blues: Blair; Halfpenny, J Robinson, J Roberts, G Thomas; Sweeney, Rees; Yapp, T Thomas, Filise, Davies, Tito, A Powell, M Williams, Lewis.
Replacements: Mustoe for Halfpenny (49), Shanklin for J Robinson (71), N Robinson for Sweeney (55), G Williams for T Thomas (80), G Powell for Filise (54), Jones for Davies (53), Sowden-Taylor for A Powell (55).

Att: 7,485

Ref: Tim Hayes (WRFU).




see also
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales
EDF Energy Anglo-Welsh Cup 2008/9
19 Jun 08 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup archive
24 Jul 06 |  Welsh


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