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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 May 2006, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Sale 45-20 Leicester
Sale Sharks won the Guiness Premiership title
Sale: (23) 45
Tries: Cueto, Lund, Ripol, Mayor
Cons: Hodgson, Courrent
Pens: Hodgson (6)
Drops: Hodgson
Leicester: (10) 20
Tries: Moody, Hamilton
Cons: Goode (2)
Pens: Goode (2)
Sale were crowned English champions with victory over Leicester in a bruising Premiership final at a sodden Twickenham on Saturday.

The Sharks became the first club in the four-year history of the play-offs to win the title after topping the table.

Sale scored through Mark Cueto, Magnus Lund and Oriol Ripol against Lewis Moody's try to lead 23-10 at half-time.

Charlie Hodgson nudged the score along with 23 points and Chris Mayor added a fourth try for Sale's first title.

Leicester were hampered by a series of errors and despite a brief renaissance late in the second half, culminating in James Hamilton's pushover score, they were unable to cope with the power, verve and control of Sale.

Sale captain Jason Robinson, the former England full-back, became the first player to win a Grand Final in both codes of rugby.

It's an amazing feeling - I can't describe how good it feels

Sale's Charlie Hodgson

Leicester last won the crown in 2002, the last of four successive titles, and a record-equalling sixth in all.

Bath have also won six titles, and Wasps five, with Newcastle (1998) the only other side to date to break the stranglehold of England's three top sides since the league system began.

Sale had the best of the tight opening exchanges and took advantage with an early Hodgson penalty, before stretching further ahead inside 10 minutes through Cueto.

Hodgson's towering cross-kick bounced off Cueto's leg as he jumped with Leicester full-back Geordan Murphy, and the Sale wing was first to respond to the ball trickling over the try-line.

Hodgson missed the conversion and was the culprit soon after when his clearance was charged down, Tigers centre Ollie Smith hacked on and Lewis Moody gathered to score.

Andy Goode hit the conversion but missed a penalty shortly after before Sale stretched their lead with Lund's try.

Scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth squeezed through a gap, Goode failed to gather a loose ball and Lund dived over.

Moody was able to get an arm under the ball but the video referee, in action for the third time, gave the score.


Hodgson again failed with the conversion from the touchline but added a penalty before missing another, while Goode answered with a penalty for 16-10 after 34 minutes.

But on the stroke of half-time, Sale added a third try after a stroke of genius from Hodgson.

A bullocking run from number eight Sebastien Chabal set up a perfect drop-goal position for the fly-half but he opted to run, dummied the advancing Alesana Tuilagi and fed Ripol for a classy score in the right corner.

After the break, Goode made the first inroads with a penalty but Hodgson added four more kicks and a drop-goal to keep Sale clear.

Hamilton's 76th-minute pushover try gave Tigers the faintest of hopes but Mayor's score right at the death put the polish on Sale's win.

Sale: Robinson; Cueto, Taylor, Seveali'i, Ripol; Hodgson, Wigglesworth; Faure, Titterrell, Turner; C Jones, Lobbe; White, Lund, Chabal.
Replacements: Bruno, Stewart, Schofield, Day, Foden, Courrent, Mayor.

Leicester: Murphy; A Tuilagi, Smith, Gibson, Varndell; Goode, Ellis; Rowntree, Chuter, White; Cullen, Kay; Jennings, Moody, Corry.
Replacements: Buckland, Holford, Hamilton, L. Deacon, Healey, Lloyd, Vesty.

Referee: Dave Pearson (Newcastle)

Clockwatch: Sale 45-20 Leicester
27 May 06 |  English


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