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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 May 2006, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Clockwatch: Sale 45-20 Leicester
As it happened:

FULL-TIME: The celebrations can begin for Sale - the first team to finish top of the table and go on to win the play-off final. And it's a well-deserved win for Philippe Saint-Andre's side.

80 mins (+1): TRY Sale 45-20 Leicester
Chris Mayor seals a sparkling performance from Sale as Valentin Courrent converts.

78 mins: PENALTY Sale 38-20 Leicester
Charlie Hodgson hammers a final nail in the Leicester coffin with another confident penalty. Leicester's Austin Healey is asking the referee how much time is left - but the answer is 'not enough'.

74 mins: TRY Sale 35-20 Leicester Leicester skipper Martin Corry drives to the line. From the ensuing ruck, James Hamilton gets the ball down and Andy Goode converts to give Leicester a glimmer of hope.

71 mins: DROP GOAL Sale 35-13 Leicester
Jason Robinson chases down his own high kick and the ball eventually finds its way to Charlie Hodgson, who makes no mistake with the drop goal.

69 mins: Leicester are pressing but they are running out of inspiration as the clock ticks down. Disconsolate coach Pat Howard looks on.

64 mins: PENALTY Sale 32-13 Leicester
It really is Charlie Hodgson's afternoon. The Sale fly-half's kick hits the post and drops over to leave Leicester needing a miracle.

61 mins: Tom Varndell is penalised for a forward pass which releases Ollie Smith - to the disgust of the Leicester bench.

59 mins: The tireless Lewis Moody puts in another huge tackle for Leicester - this time on Elvis Seveali'l. Graham Rowntree is replaced by Michael Holford.

53 mins: Austin Healey comes on for possibly his last appearance for Leicester. Harry Ellis makes way.

48 mins: PENALTY Sale 29-13 Leicester
Hesitation from Leicester hands Sale a penalty in front of the posts and Charlie Hodgson is on target again.

46 mins: PENALTY Sale 26-13 Leicester
But Sale are quickly back into their stride as Charlie Hodgson re-establishes the 13 point gap.

43 mins: PENALTY Sale 23-13 Leicester
Leicester kick their first penalty into the corner, attempting to go for the seven points, but Andy Goode kicks the second one through the posts as the Tigers look to bounce back.

41 mins: Leicester's Andy Goode gets the second half under way and the Tigers are on the attack straight away.

HALF-TIME: Sale 23-10 Leicester
Hodgson's intervention was perfectly timed as Sale go in at half-time with a morale-boosting 13-point lead.

40 mins: TRY Sale 23-10 Leicester
With everyone expecting the drop goal, Charlie Hodgson dances through the Leicester defence and passes to Oriol Ripol to fall over the line. Hodgson completes a magical couple of minutes with the conversion.

35 mins: PENALTY Sale 16-10 Leicester
Andy Goode's nerve holds as he nails a huge kick to close the gap as half-time approaches.

32 mins: Charlie Hodgson misses a chance to extend Sale's lead as his penalty drifts wide.

31 mins: PENALTY Sale 16-7 Leicester
Charlie Hodgson eases the nerves of the Sale fans, extending the Sharks' lead with a superb penalty kick.

29 mins: Charlie Hodgson's kick to the corner puts Geordan Murphy under pressure. With Mark Cueto bearing down on him, the Tigers' full-back calmly collects and kicks clear.

25 mins: Excellent work from Shane Jennings wins Leicester possession, but Sale's defence stands firm as the Tigers look for a way through.

20 mins: This match won't go down as a classic if the first 20 minutes are anything to go by. The wet weather is causing numerous mistakes - both out of hand and boot.

17 mins: TRY Sale 13-7 Leicester
Richard Wigglesworth wriggles through and after Andy Goode spills it, Magnus Lund gets the try. Charlie Hodgson slips as he attempts to convert and the ball drifts wide.

10 mins: TRY Sale 8-7 Leicester
Leicester roar back. Ollie Smith kicks on for Lewis Moody, but there is a suspicion of offside about the try. Andy Goode converts.

8 mins TRY Sale 8-0 Leicester
Charlie Hodgson's magnificent crossfield kick comes off Geordan Murphy and then Mark Cueto's leg - leaving the Sale winger to race in and touch down. Charlie Hodgson cannot convert.

7 mins: The conditions are already beginning to affect the game. Sale's Andy Titterrell goes to collect but knocks on several yards from the tryline.

3 mins: PENALTY Sale 3-0 Leicester
Charlie Hodgson gets his afternoon off to the perfect start as he strokes his penalty straight through the middle.

2 mins: Lewis Moody is down injured already. The Leicester flanker gingerly gets back on his feet but he will have to watch Charlie Hodgson take the first penalty of the game - given for offside.

1500 BST: Sale fly-half Charlie Hodgson gets the final under way.

1459 BST: The teams emerge - and the Sale fans are drowning out their Leicester counterparts at the moment.

1457 BST: 'Sharky', the Sale mascot, is prowling the touchline - no doubt revelling in the damp conditions at Twickenham.

1455 BST: The atmosphere is building at a packed Twickenham as the fans await the teams.

1441 BST: It should be an interesting afternoon: the rain is pelting down at Twickenham and the ground is sodden.


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)




SEE ALSO
Play-off final photos
27 May 06 |  Photo Galleries


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