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Sunday, 2 June, 2002, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Gloucester set up West Country final
Gloucester's Andy Gomersall sprints towards the try-line
Gloucester's Andy Gomersall sprints towards the try-line
Sale 11-33 Gloucester
Zurich Championship semi-final

Gloucester set up a tantalising clash in the Zurich Championship final next weekend with an impressive victory over Sale on Sunday.

The visitors, who dominated up front, ran in three tries - from Fiji's Koli Sewabu, man-of-the-match Andy Gomersall and Tom Beim.

Sale's sole score came from winger Mark Cueto, but the home side, who were playing their final game at Heywood Road, never looked likely to seal the win.

Gloucester now face Bristol at Twickenham next Saturday, after their West Country rivals edged Northampton 32-24 in the weekend's other semi.


This is huge for the players, backroom staff and fans - it felt like a home game today
Gloucester scrum-half Andy Gomersall
"Next weekend is going to be huge," said Gomersall after the match.

"And we'll be thinking about it on Monday - but let's savour a good peformance first.

"This is huge for the players, backroom staff and fans. It felt like a home game today and the forwards played superbly."

Gloucester quickly established the forward dominance which was to bring them the opening try.

  Match facts
Sale (3) 11: Tries - Cueto; Pens - Hodgson 2.
Gloucester (19) 33: Tries - Sewabu, Gomarsall, Beim; Cons - Mercier 3; Pens - Mercier 3; Drop Goals - Mercier.
Att: 4,298
Hooker Olivier Azam was twice warned for driving the front-row up as the visitors' advance gathered momentum, but once the French international had sorted that problem out, Sale's scrum disintegrated.

Skipper Bryan Redpath was left to make the best of crumbling possession and when he failed to spot a loose ball spewing out of one set piece, Gloucester hooker Sewabu pounced.

Ludovic Mercier showed few nerves in an impeccable opening period which saw him land three penalties, a conversion and a smartly-taken 40 metre drop goal.

Through all this, Sale managed just a single Charlie Hodgson penalty and generally looked too tired to care.

Sale hit back

They emerged with renewed vigour after the interval, however, and Bryan Redpath cut through the opposition defences on a couple of occasions with his trademark sniping bursts.

Hodgson pulled a penalty back before full-back Jason Robinson ignited the home attack on the hour with a devastating burst from inside his own 22 metre line.

Jason Robinson started the most impressive move of the match
Jason Robinson started the most impressive move of the match
The Gloucester defence was left trailing as he darted over halfway, collected his own chip, then fed Martin Shaw, who in turn sent Cueto flying down the wing to touchdown in the corner.

But, after winning another scrum against the head, Gloucester quickly launched another powerful assault and referee Steve Lander had no hesitation in awarding the try as scrum-half Gomarsall charged home.

Sale pressed from the re-start but Cueto fumbled Hodgson's pass and Tom Beim collected and roared home from 60 metres to seal a well-deserved visitors' win.

The vociferous visiting supporters, many of whom had decamped in the club bar three hours before kick-off to watch England's World Cup efforts, were by now in jovial mood.

So, when Lander pulled up with a severe muscle strain in the final minutes, the match official found himself subjected to the loudest cheers of the afternoon.


Sale: Robinson, Hanley, Shaw, Harris, Cueto, Hodgson, Redpath, Yates, Titterrell, Turner, C. Jones, Lines, Anglesea, A. Sanderson, Pinkerton.

Replacements: Dickens, Going, Baxendell, Wilks, Perelini, Stewart, Jackman.

Gloucester: Paul, O'Leary, Fanolua, Todd, Beim, Mercier, Gomarsall, Collazo, Azam, Vickery, Fidler, Pearce, Boer, Sewabu, Paramore.

Replacements: Yachvili, Catling, Fortey, Deacon, Woodman, Caillet, Gillies.

Referee: Steve Lander (RFU)

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Ian Robertson
"It was all over by half time"
Gloucester's Andy Gomersall
"We are so happy to get there"

Martin Johnson lifts the Zurich Championship trophy in 2001Win tickets
Ten pairs going for the Zurich final at Twickers
See also:

02 Jun 02 | English
02 Jun 02 | English
01 Jun 02 | English
Links to more English stories are at the foot of the page.


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