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Page last updated at 21:19 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 22:19 UK

Sale 21-24 Bath

Sale (13) 21
Tries: Bell 2 Con: Hodgson Pens: Hodgson 3

Bath (7) 24
Tries: Hooper, Hape, Stephenson Cons: Cuthbert 3

Stuart Hooper (right) scored a vital try for Bath at Edgeley Park
Stuart Hooper (right) scored a vital try for Bath at Edgeley Park

Bath produced a stirring second-half fightback to bundle Sale out of the EDF Energy Cup and maintain their hopes of progressing from Group B.

Charlie Hodgson's two penalties and Chris Bell's try gave Sale a cushion before Brent Cockbain was sinbinned.

Stuart Hooper scored for Bath to reduce the deficit to 13-7 at the break before Shontayne Hape and Michael Stephenson added further tries for the visitors.

Bell responded with a second try but Bath were able to fend off the Sharks.

The home side struck the first blow with a superb Hodgson penalty from distance in the second minute.

The Yorkshireman added a second penalty in the eighth minute and showed some delightful handling skills to orchestrate several flowing moves which should have reaped greater reward.

One such move saw him collect a neat short offload from stand-in scrum-half Chris Leck and throw an exquisite long pass out to Bell, but the centre could not take the pass in his stride.

However, Bell was on hand to finish off a fine counter-attack in the 24th minute and Hodgson was again the orchestrator.

He kicked cleverly downfield, Mark Cueto gave chase and scooped the ball before finding the onrushing Bell advancing forward at pace to cross the line with ease.


Hodgson converted to give Sale a commanding 13-0 advantage but Bath hit back after Sharks forward Cockbain was sent to the sin bin for fighting shortly before the break.

Hooper quickly barged his way over for Bath and full-back Jack Cuthbert converted to cut the gap to six points at half-time.

A Hodgson penalty gave Sale further breathing space shortly after the restart.

However, rugby league convert Hape crossed from close range in the 53rd minute and Stephenson found a gap in the left corner to squeeze over four minutes later.

Cuthbert converted for the third time to put Bath into a commanding lead but Sale hit back again when Hodgson's long pass allowed Bell to claim his second in the right corner, though Hodgson could not convert.

Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre:

"It's not nice to lose at home again and the players are very down in the dressing room.

"But we had a very young front row out there and we need to take a lot of positives from it."

Bath head coach Steve Meehan on Shontayne Hape:

"I thought Shontayne was very strong defensively tonight and did some good things in attack.

"He's developing a better rugby sense and I'm pretty happy with the way he's going.

"He didn't look like a convert at all but we've got to be patient with him."

Sale: Macleod, Cueto, Tuilagi, Bell, Royle, Hodgson, Leck, O'Donnell, M. Jones, Halsall, Schofield, Cockbain, White, D. Tait, Fearns.

Replacements: Keil for Cueto (67), Lamont for Royle (38), Cliff for Leck (66), Turner for O'Donnell (66), Ward for M. Jones (57), Gaskell for Cockbain (56).Not Used: Hills.Sin Bin: Cockbain (38).

Bath: Cuthbert, Crane, Cheeseman, Hape, Stephenson, Fuimaono-Sapolu, Bemand, Barnes, Hawkins, Bell, Harrison, Hooper, Ovens, Lipman, Browne.

Replacements: Baxter for Bemand (62), Catt for Barnes (55), Mears for Hawkins (55), Ion for Bell (62), Hobson for Harrison (56), Scaysbrook for Lipman (55).Not Used: Kydd.

Att: 7,659

Ref: Peter Allan

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see also
Sale 16-24 Munster
19 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Bath 13-9 Dragons
19 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
EDF Energy Anglo-Welsh Cup 2008/9
19 Jun 08 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup archive
24 Jul 06 |  Welsh

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