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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 December 2007, 16:48 GMT
Sale 20-14 Leicester
Sale's Julien Laharrague (left) and Tigers' fly-half Andy Goode
Goode (right) missed a clutch of penalty attempts
Sale: (14) 20
Tries: Lamont
Pens: Hodgson (4), McAlister

Leicester: (8) 14
Tries: J Murphy
Pens: Goode (3)

Sale punished Leicester's lack of precision with victory in a tense Premiership encounter at Edgeley Park.

The Sharks scored through Rory Lamont in the first half, while four Charlie Hodgson penalties and one from Luke McAlister kept the champions at bay.

The Tigers also crossed with Johne Murphy before the break but Andy Goode suffered an off day with the boot.

Leicester's lack of discipline also cost them as Sale leapfrogged the Tigers to go fourth in the league.

Sale have not lost at Edgeley Park since a 26-25 defeat against Leicester in April, while the visitors' losing bonus point kept them fifth in the table, level on points with Harlequins.

The endeavour was high in the opening period but both sides were struggling to find any cohesion and set-piece and handling errors abounded.

Sale raced into an early lead with two Hodgson penalties before Goode slotted his first kick for the Tigers.

Luke McAlister is starting to fit into the team very well and with him and Charlie Hodgson we have two fantastic playmakers

Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre

The Sharks thought they had clinched the first try on the half hour mark when Julien Laharrague rumbled over but the referee ruled he was held up.

From the ensuing scrum, though, Sale were awarded a penalty and the Sharks went away with another three points.

Shortly after, Goode made a promising foray into Sale's half and was rewarded with a penalty, but pulled his kick left of the posts.

But the game exploded into life just before the break when things finally clicked for both sides.

Hodgson's chip launched a flowing Sale attack involving former All Black McAlister, and French pair Sebastien Chabal and Sebastien Bruno before the fly-half fired a long pass out left to send wing Lamont crashing over.

Leicester followed through with their own threat almost immediately from the kick-off, when Goode broke left from a scrum in midfield and looped around Ollie Smith to find Johne Murphy who sliced over in the left corner.

606: DEBATE

The Tigers built on the momentum after the break and Goode landed a second penalty, shortly after missing with a drop-goal attempt.

Sale hit back with a spell of possession but looked set to be punished for failing to convert pressure into points when Leicester earned a penalty upfield.

Goode pointed at the sticks but pushed his kick right and Sale's fragile three-point lead remained intact until the Tigers number 10 slotted a long penalty with 20 minutes left.

Instantly, though, the Tigers forwards gave away another penalty and Hodgson reclaimed the lead for Sale.

Tigers wing Tom Varndell went close to a try but was bundled into the corner flag as he sniffed the line and Goode hit the post with a penalty as Leicester squandered their mounting territorial advantage.

And as the end loomed, McAlister slotted a game-clinching penalty to seal Leicester's demise.


  • Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre on Luke McAlister:
    "We know Luke has so much quality. He's quick, skilful and today his defence was very strong.

    "Luke is starting to fit into the team very well and with him and Hodgson we have two fantastic playmakers who can be very dangerous.

    "It was important to beat Leicester because since we beat them in the 2006 Guinness Premiership final, we've lost four times consecutively against them.

    "But this has taken us up into the top four of the Premiership and I have a feeling that we can get much better."

  • Leicester coach Marcelo Loffreda:
    "We were not precise, lost many balls and had a lot of turnovers in the first half.

    "We weren't as concentrated as we should have been but in the second half we played much better.

    "But when they had to defend they did very well and there are things we have to learn."


    Sale: Laharrague, Lamont, McAlister, Thomas, Ripol, Hodgson, Wigglesworth, Sheridan, Bruno, Roberts, Schofield, Cox, White, Lund, Chabal.
    Replacements: Briggs, Turner, Cockbain, C. Jones, Martens, Cueto, Mayor.

    Leicester: G. Murphy, J. Murphy, O Smith, Mauger, Varndell, Goode, F. Murphy, Ayerza, Chuter, White, Hamilton, Kay, Croft, Abraham, Corry.
    Replacements: Davies, Castrogiovanni, Wentzel, B. Deacon, Laussucq, Hipkiss, Vesty.

    Referee: D Pearson (England)




  • SEE ALSO
    Sale 32-10 Bayonne
    13 Dec 07 |  Rugby Union
    Worcester 15-34 Sale
    23 Nov 07 |  English
    Leicester confirm European dates
    18 Dec 07 |  Leicester
    Toulouse 22-11 Leicester
    16 Dec 07 |  Rugby Union
    Leeds 6-29 Leicester
    24 Nov 07 |  English


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