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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2006, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Sale 22-12 Wasps
Jason Robinson dives to score a try for Sale in the first half
Sale (16) 22
Tries: Robinson
Cons: Hodgson
Pens: Hodgson 5
Wasps (3) 12
Pens: Van Gisbergen 4
Sale smashed Wasps' three-year grip on the Premiership crown as they outmuscled the defending champions to reach the play-off final on 27 May.

An explosive Jason Robinson try and three Charlie Hodgson penalties helped the Sharks build a 16-3 interval lead.

Mark van Gisbergen landed one, and two more on the resumption, but Hodgson's fourth maintained Sale's 10-point lead.

The Wasps full-back reduced that to seven and Hodgson missed a drop-goal, but sealed victory with a late penalty.

Victory gives Sale, who finished the regular season six points clear, the chance to cement their dominance in the final, against either Leicester or London Irish.

We have just become the challengers now
Wasps boss Ian McGeechan
Defeat spelled the end of a a phenomenal period of domestic success for Wasps, who found Edgeley Park a bridge too far after enjoying a home semi-final for the past three years.

Hodgson had his first penalty on the board inside the first minute after Jason White pounced on the kick-off and Wasps fell offside in front of their own posts.

Van Gisbergen levelled with one of his own in the fourth but missed with a further opportunity moments later.

The home crowd roared their approval as French number eight Sebastien Chabal lifted up Lawrence Dallaglio and dumped the former England captain on his backside.

Hodgson landed two more penalties to push Sale into a 9-3 lead in a 10-minute spell that would have made grisly viewing for England coach Andy Robinson.

Wasps' Josh Lewsey is collared by Sale centre Elvis Seveali'i,
Wasps struggled to make headway
First Wasps wing Tom Voyce was forced off with a hamstring pull, putting his place in the squad to be announced on Monday for the tour to Australia in doubt.

Voyce was replaced by centre Fraser Waters, with Josh Lewsey reverting to the wing.

Moments later Hodgson felt the full force of Simon Shaw's 19 stone frame clatter into him while he was catching a high kick from the giant lock.

Hodgson was left clutching his ribs after some lengthy treatment, and was given a painkiller minutes later in an attempt to dull the pain.

Jeremy Staunton, starting at fly-half despite Alex King being named in the original line-up, missed a straightforward drop-goal attempt as Wasps struggled to gain a foothold.

The crucial moment of the first half arrived after half an hour, with an explosion of pace from Robinson.

Robinson was born to be a champion
Sale boss Philippe Saint-Andre
The Sale captain jinked between two tacklers loitering at a ruck, stepped inside a static Van Gisbergen and had enough pace to hold off Lewsey's last-ditch tackle.

Hodgson converted the score for a commanding 16-3 lead, Van Gisbergen badly skewing another penalty chance with the last kick of the half.

He made amends on the resumption to reduce the gap to 10 points, but there was no let-up from the Sharks.

Hodgson's fourth penalty made it 19-6 before Mark Cueto raced 60m in a superb counter-attack, only for the move to end with a Robinson knock-on.

Van Gisbergen replied for 19-9, but another huge hit from Chabal on Shaw kept Sale in the ascendancy.

Wasps sent on Raphael Ibanez, Matt Dawson and Alex King for the final quarter, Van Gisbergen's fourth penalty bringing them to within a converted score with 15 minutes left.

Hodgson missed with a drop-goal attempt that might have sealed it, but was on the mark three minutes from time to spark the home celebrations.

Sale: Robinson; Cueto, Taylor, Seveali'i, Ripol; Hodgson, Martens; Faure, Titterrell, Turner; Jones, Fernandez Lobbe; White, Lund, Chabal .
Replacements: Bruno (for Titterrell, 50), Foden (for Martens, 59), Mayor (for Seveali'i, 62), Stewart (for Turner, 54), Schofield (for Lobbe, 61), Day (for Lund, 73).
Not used: Courrent.

Wasps: Van Gisbergen; Sackey, Lewsey, Abbott, Voyce; Staunton, Reddan; Payne, Ward, Bracken; Shaw, Birkett; Leo, Worsley, Dallaglio.
Replacements: Waters (for Voyce 17), Haskell (on for Birkett, 49), Ibanez (for Ward, 54), Dawson (for Reddan, 54), King (for Staunton, 59), Va'a (for Payne, 71), Lock (for Leo, 73).

Referee: Chris White (RFU)

Att: 10,641

Saint-Andre hails brave Hodgson
14 May 06 |  English


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES: Sale Sharks down Wasps - 38 hrs ago
Sky Sports Hodgson the heroic - 52 hrs ago
Daily Mail Wasps stung by Sale - 52 hrs ago
Zurich Rugby Sale Sharks on their way to Twickenham - 54 hrs ago
Planet Rugby Sharks end the reign of Wasps - 54 hrs ago

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