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London Welsh 25 Sale 26: Danny Cipriani edges out Gavin Henson in relegation battle

London Welsh 25 Sale 26: Cipriani comes edges out Henson in relegation battle

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

17:57 GMT, 17 February 2013

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UPDATED:

00:06 GMT, 18 February 2013

Gavin versus Danny proved to be an evenly-fought sideshow at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday in a raw relegation battle.

Sale edged the tussle thanks to tries either side of half-time which helped them to only their fourth Premiership win of the season.

If their careers had gone to plan Gavin Henson and Danny Cipriani would have been preparing for Six Nations games rather than being rival club fly halves as they attempt to rebuild careers.

Fluency: Sale's Danny Cipriani was the linchpin in a vital win for the Sharks over their fellow relegation strugglers

Fluency: Sale's Danny Cipriani was the linchpin in a vital win for the Sharks over their fellow strugglers

Both enjoyed impressive games. Henson
took the London Welsh sponsor’s man-of-the-match award, but it was
Cipriani’s Sale who emerged victorious in a fraught, penalty–strewn
game.

‘Relief, that’s the best word,’ said
Steve Diamond, Sale’s director of rugby. ‘But we are still bottom and
have Harlequins and Leicester to come in the next two weeks so we are
not out of the mire.’

Yet Sale are daring to hope at the
bottom of the 12-team competition. This was a second successive win,
following a similar triumph over Exeter, and four points here put them a
point behind 11th-placed London Irish and three off Welsh.

Battle: London Welsh's Jonathan Mills is tackled by Sale Sharks' Dan Baird

Battle: London Welsh's Jonathan Mills is tackled by Sale Sharks' Dan Baird

And there is
no doubting that in Cipriani they have an attacking No 10 who could yet
lead them to safety.

He helped make a crucial try for
scrum-half Will Cliff just before half-time, producing the acceleration
and distribution, alongside wing Charlie Amesbury, which gained him
England recognition.

He also kicked 13 points before being
replaced by Nick Macleod who is considered to be more dependable and a
better defender for such tense finales.

Offload: Sale's Danny Cipriani passes under the attention of London Welsh's Adam Balding

Offload: Sale's Danny Cipriani passes under the attention of London Welsh's Adam Balding

Henson, playing his first full game in
three months due to injury, also produced play that brought back
memories of his best days for Wales. He landed one long-distance penalty
attempt and set up wing Phil Mackenzie for his team’s only try in the
48th minute.

It was a beautifully-timed pass by
Henson whose conversion put Welsh 22-20 ahead. He then banged over a
second penalty to increase the lead to 25-20 only for Cipriani to reply
in the 60th minute.

It was Cipriani’s last contribution,
Macleod kicking the penalty nine minutes from time which put his team a
decisive 26-25 ahead.

Strike: Gavin Henson scored eight points for Welsh, but that was not enough

Strike: Gavin Henson scored eight points for Welsh, but that was not enough

Stopped: London Welsh's Julio Cabello falls short of the line as Welsh looked to get a late winner

Stopped: London Welsh's Julio Cabello falls short of the line as Welsh looked to get a late winner

Welsh’s head coach Lyn Jones said: ‘We
just did not take our chances when we had them.’ After Cipriani put
Sale ahead in the ninth minute, Welsh fed off Sale’s poor discipline
for Alex Davies to kick three penalty goals followed by Henson’s
long-distance toe-bunger.

But it was a series of rash Welsh errors which allowed Sale back.

Cipriani kicked another penalty and then escaped down the right, with Amesbury, to make Cliff’s try

Sale continued on the attack after the
break and Dan Braid, an impressive arrival from New Zealand, scampered
in for the second try.

Welsh regained the lead when Henson made Mackenzie’s try but Sale held their nerve.

Five points: Phil MacKenzie of London Welsh dives over to score their only try of the match

Five points: Phil MacKenzie of London Welsh dives over to score their only try of the match

Danny Cipriani recalled by Sale Sharks

Reprieve for Cipriani as Sale recall fly-half for clash with Worcester

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UPDATED:

14:13 GMT, 28 December 2012

Sale Sharks have recalled Danny Cipriani, presenting the former England fly-half with a surprise chance to restore his reputation at the club.

He was dropped from the side which lost to his former club Wasps Adams Park last Sunday, and felt the brunt of co-owner Brian Kennedy’s stinging attack, who challenged his commitment.

Despite this, and in the wake of a relatively improved performance during the 25-18 defeat, Cipriani will start tonight against Worcester, in place of Nick Macleod who has a back injury.

Back in the fold: Cipriani has been recalled by Sale

Back in the fold: Cipriani has been recalled by Sale

Kennedy blasted the 25-year old, saying: ‘If you’re not prepared to put your body on the line for this club, who pay your wages and give you the chance to play at the highest level each week, then you won’t be in the squad, will you’

The club’s director of rugby, John Mitchell, also had some cold advice for the player, who has been accused of laziness.

'Danny knows the situation and what’s going on and he knows that there needs to be an improvement in performance,’ Mitchell said.

'He has to improve his defence. Last week against Toulon he defended for 35 minutes and then chose not to do so.'

The onus is now in Cipriani who, blessed with world-beating talent, has failed to prove he can show focus and dedication for Sale.

They currently sit five points adrift at the foot of the Premiership table and have only recorded one win, against London Irish, in their 11 league games.

Danny Cipriani blasted by Sale Sharks chief Brian Kennedy

If you don't put your body on the line you'll be axed! Cipriani slammed by furious Sale chief

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UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 22 December 2012

The multi-millionaire owner of relegation-threatened Sale Sharks blasted his coaches, players and, most notably, Danny Cipriani, for their current plight on the eve of Sunday’s crucial Aviva Premiership game at London Wasps.

Brian Kennedy, who has made his vast fortune through home improvements and building products, has bankrolled the Cheshire club for the past decade.

But he finally lost patience on Saturday night, with his club adrift at the bottom of the Premiership having won just once in 10 games, and now lying six points away from 11th-placed London Irish.

Criticism: Danny Cipriani has been slammed by the Sale Sharks chief

Criticism: Danny Cipriani has been slammed by the Sale Sharks chief

The final straw for the Scot was last week’s 62-0 humiliation at Toulon, a performance that persuaded Kiwi John Michell, appointed as a short-term troubleshooter, to drop former England star Cipriani not just from the starting XV but from the whole match-day squad to face a resurgent Wasps unbeaten at Adams Park this season.

Kennedy is in full support of his coach’s decision, even though he sanctioned the big-money, high-profile summer signing of the wayward star after a tempestuous, two-year spell at the Melbourne Rebels.

‘Danny didn’t want to tackle last week,’ was the club owner’s damning verdict on the stand-off once expected to be Jonny Wilkinson’s natural successor for the England No 10 jersey. ‘It’s the coaches decision, but if you can’t defend then there’s no place for you in Premiership rugby.

‘Danny had a dreadful game in defence last week. And if you’re not prepared to put your body on the line for this club, who pay your wages and give you the chance to play at the highest level each week, then you won’t be in the squad, will you

‘You just have to watch Danny’s game at Toulon to understand why he’s not playing against Wasps.

Enraged: Brian Kennedy lashed out at several targets, including Cipriani

Enraged: Brian Kennedy lashed out at several targets, including Cipriani

‘Toulon are a great side full of great players, but no Premiership team should lose by 62-0 to any side, at any time. Some of the players have paid the price for it, and that includes Danny Cipriani.’

Kennedy’s anger is not exclusively aimed at his supposed playmaker. He argues that everything has been in place for the club to succeed and that his coaches and players have let him down.

It led to the demotion of former director of rugby Bryan Redpath to head coach, with chief executive Steve Diamond taking over playing affairs and to the arrival of Mitchell, but little has changed in terms of results.

‘It’s ironic, isn’t it,’ says Kennedy. ‘We have a new stadium, one of the best grounds in the Premiership, and we definitely have the best training facilities in English rugby at Carrington, on a par with Manchester City. I expected us to be pushing hard for a top-four position this season, especially with the signings we made in the close season.

‘So what’s gone wrong It’s not the ground. It’s not the training facilities. It’s not the support given to the club in terms of investing in players. Are we being delusional I don’t think so. So it is either down to the players, the coaches or a combination of them both.’

Paid the price: Kennedy was furious with Cipriani after the club's 62-0 defeat by Toulon

Paid the price: Kennedy was furious with Cipriani after the club's 62-0 defeat by Toulon

Kennedy refuses to contemplate relegation to the Championship just yet as the season reaches the halfway stage in the Aviva Premiership this weekend, but he does concede his team are in trouble and he wants a massive response today at Wasps.

‘I’m not allowing myself to plan for relegation because that would be a negative mindset that would only strengthen our chances of going down,’ he explains. ‘But I will admit our position is perilous and that’s not a word I use lightly. I expect the Sale Sharks to show some pride and dignity at Wasps, to show that they care and that they are angry and hurting. I know I am.

‘We should be a top club, but we’re rock bottom and unless we do something about it, starting at Wasps, we will stay there.’

Coach Mitchell, meanwhile, looks likely to be return to South Africa where his partner lives and where lucrative TV work beckons in February. His departure is earlier than initially thought when Sale snapped him up. Yet this appears to be the least of Kennedy’s worries.

‘I’m delighted if we have John for a day, or a week, or a month,’ he says. ‘Right now we need all the help we can get.’

Sunday's Wasps v Sale match is subject to a pitch inspection.

Toulon v Sale match report: Armitage brothers to the fore as Sharks suffer nine-try blitz

Toulon 62 Sale 0: Armitage brothers to the fore as Sharks blown away in nine-try blitz

PUBLISHED:

17:59 GMT, 16 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:59 GMT, 16 December 2012

Sale suffered their heaviest Heineken Cup defeat as Toulon showed their title credentials with a crushing victory at Stade Felix Mayol.

The Top 14 leaders were sensational against the Aviva Premiership's bottom-placed side as they made it four wins from four in Pool Six.

The Armitage brothers, Steffon and Delon, were at the fore for the big-spending French outfit as the Sharks shipped nine tries in suffering a crushing loss.

Blitz: Sale's David Seymour is powerless to stop Toulon scrum half Frederic Michalak touching down near the post in the French side's resounding 62-0 win

Blitz: Sale's David Seymour is powerless to stop Toulon scrum half Frederic Michalak touching down near the post in the French side's resounding 62-0 win

No way through: Toulon's David Kubriashvili (centre) tries to break through a group of Sale players

No way through: Toulon's David Kubriashvili (centre) tries to break through a group of Sale players

Sale held firm for the first 30 minutes on the Cote D'Azur but they were cannon fodder after that as Jean-Charles Orioli, Freddie Michalak – who started ahead of Jonny Wilkinson – Joe van Niekerk (two), Davit Kubriashvili, Rudi Wolf and David Smith joined the Armitage boys on the scoreboard.

It was all Toulon in the early stages but they led just 3-0 after turning down a number of kickable penalties and being regularly rebuffed by a Sale side who initially refused to roll over.

Bakkies Botha appeared to have finally got the game's opening try as the match hit the 25-minute mark but the giant Springbok lock followed Steffon Armitage in seeing the TMO say 'no try' when referee Jon Lacey asked the question.

Delon Armitage then touched down out wide three minutes later only to see the score ruled out due to Matt Giteau's knock-on following a huge hit from Mark Cueto.

Dominant: Danny Cipriani tries to bring down Toulon's Samoan right wing David Smith

Dominant: Danny Cipriani tries to bring down Toulon's Samoan right wing David Smith

Dominant: Frederic Michalak was to the fore as Toulon ran in nine-try and inflicted Sale's heaviest European Cup defeat

Dominant: Frederic Michalak was to the fore as Toulon ran in nine-try and inflicted Sale's heaviest European Cup defeat

Sale finally cracked just past the half-hour, though, when hooker Orioli crashed over at the back of a driving maul. Former London Irish second row Nick Kennedy set the platform with a solid lineout take just five metres out and the rest of the pack completed the training ground exercise by powering forward at an impressive pace to give Orioli his chance.

Michalak added the extras for a 10-0 lead before Pierrick Gunther went close only to see the TMO again rule against Toulon as the pressure on the Sale pack continued to mount.

Michalak then showed his class to really dent Sale hopes four minutes before the break as he slipped outside Danny Cipriani's poor tackle from a five-metre scrum before ducking underneath Will Cliff's last-gasp effort to stretch over by the right-hand post.

The simple conversion pushed Toulon three scores clear at 17-0, leaving the game as good as dead by the interval despite Sale's superb rear-guard efforts in the opening 40 minutes.

Any thoughts Sale might have had of a remarkable comeback were ended just five minutes after the restart when Van Niekerk stepped past Rob Miller for his team's third try after a deft give and take from Steffon Armitage.

On the break: David Smith tries to escape the clutches of the Sale defence

On the break: David Smith tries to escape the clutches of the Sale defence

Grounded: Maxime Mermoz is brought to the floor by Danny Cipriani

Grounded: Maxime Mermoz is brought to the floor by Danny Cipriani

Toulon had the bonus point wrapped up by 50 minutes as Delon Armitage mirrored his brother in producing a wonderful offload to allow Kubriashvili to blast over while Fraser McKenzie was in the sin bin, with Michalak's third and fourth conversions making it 31-0 with nearly half an hour still to play.

Simon Shaw's yellow card threatened to halt Toulon's momentum but it made little difference as Steffon Armitage scored the try his all-round performance deserved as he crashed through Cipriani from two metres out after 58 minutes.

Delon then joined the party just moments later as he showed his footballing skills by chipping through three defenders, tapping on, picking up and diving over for Toulon's sixth score.

Michalak finally missed from the tee with his seventh attempt but he was back on target to claim a 20-point tally when Giteau's weaving run saw Van Niekerk add his second as Toulon hit 50 with 12 minutes left.

Rudi Wolf scored the eighth try after a fine pass from Wilkinson, before Smith completed the rout after picking up the former England star's kick ahead with the final play.

Gloucester 29 Sale Sharks 3: Match report

Gloucester 29 Sale 3: Burns puts the boot in but Edmonds injury overshadows win

PUBLISHED:

16:07 GMT, 24 November 2012

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UPDATED:

16:07 GMT, 24 November 2012

Gloucester climbed up to third place in the Aviva Premiership as they inflicted the eighth league defeat of the season on bottom side Sale Sharks.

Two tries, one from Akapusi Qera and the other a penalty touchdown, in the last quarter ended a match which failed to inspire.

Home fly-half Freddie Burns booted five penalties in the opening 24 minutes and converted both tries against a solitary penalty from ex-England ace Danny Cipriani for Sale.

Steady Freddie: Burns was in fine form with the boot for Gloucester

Steady Freddie: Burns was in fine form with the boot for Gloucester

But the win was marred by a serious-looking neck injury to the home side's Australia hooker Huia Edmonds 10 minutes into the second half.

Gloucester have not lost at Kingsholm since Northampton beat them on September 1 as they went in search of a a seventh home victory.

It was down to sloppy Sale errors and the precise boot of Burns, this season's top points scorer in the Premiership, that Gloucester went clear early on.

The Sharks, looking for a second league victory of the season after breaking their duck with a 21-9 win over London Irish earlier this month, were never in it.

Burns put the Cherry and Whites in front after five minutes with the first of his five penalties in the opening period.

And the fly-half showed plenty of confidence to nail his next four kicks, two from 40metres, one from 45m and the other way out on the left from about 50m.

Concerned: Huia Edmonds is carried off the pitch on a stretcher

Concerned: Huia Edmonds is carried off the pitch on a stretcher

There were no clear-cut try-scoring chances from either side during a dull first period until Sale had a chance in the final six minutes.

They were desperate to get back into the game at 15-0 down and, instead of going for goal when awarded a penalty, tried a kick to touch and attacking line-out.

The drive took them close, but when British Lions scrum-half Dwayne Peel fed No 8 Andy Powell, the ex-Wales international dropped the ball.

Cipriani got Sale on the board with a 25m penalty, but after the break and despite some good drives from big centre Sam Tuitupou, handling mistakes again let the Sharks down.

The match was held up 10 minutes into the second half for the worrying injury to Edmonds after Sale's pack drove into a maul near the home line.

Edmonds fell to the ground as medics raced on to the pitch and spent six minutes treating him before the hooker was stretchered off with his neck in a brace.

Sale got back into it the quicker from the restart, but lost their way as Gloucester regained the initiative and, to the relief of the home support, put themselves almost out of sight with 17 minutes remaining.

Fijian flanker Qera took a short pass from scrum-half Jimmy Cowan to drive over the line from five metres.

It brought some life back into the Cherry and Whites and, with Cipriani now on the bench with an icepack on his knee, Sale's chances were gone.

Gloucester finished on top with their scrum hammering the opposition. And it was after a series of attacking scrums that the visitor's pack collapsed under the pressure on their own line and referee Luke Pearce had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try that finished things off.

Bryan Redpath removed as Sale director of rugby

Redpath removed as Sale director of rugby, but offered role as backs coach

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UPDATED:

14:55 GMT, 30 October 2012

Sale Sharks chief executive Steve Diamond has confirmed he will be in charge of the team for the remainder of the season following the removal from the position of director of rugby of Bryan Redpath, who has been offered a role on the coaching staff.

Following reports that the Scot had lost his job on Monday, Sale – who are bottom of the Aviva Premiership having been defeated in all of their opening seven league fixtures this term – released a statement which said Redpath had not been dismissed by the club.

Moving across: Redpath has been removed as director of rugby at Sale

Moving across: Redpath has been removed as director of rugby at Sale

His role, at the very least, looks
set to be redefined, though, with Diamond
understood to be taking over team affairs for Friday's home clash with
London Irish, with input from John Mitchell, the former All Blacks coach
who has been working as a consultant at Sale and is widely expected to
be Redpath's permanent successor.

Diamond is due to address the media at a press conference shortly.

Redpath took over at Sale in June, signing a four-year deal, after leaving Gloucester.

The appointment of the 41-year-old former scrum-half, who played for the north west club between 2000 and 2005 and was capped 60 times by Scotland, was part of a radical overhaul of Sale over the summer as they left Stockport for the City of Salford Stadium.

Moving forward: Sale are currently adrift at the bottom of the table

Moving forward: Sale are currently adrift at the bottom of the table

Big-name signings including Danny Cipriani and Richie Gray followed, but the results have not, with only a single Heineken Cup victory over Cardiff Blues in the wins column.

Sale are currently eight points adrift at the foot of the Premiership table and speculation about Redpath's job has intensified after last Friday's 23-16 loss to Worcester.

Sale 34 Cardiff 33: Danny Cipriani inspires Heineken Cup comeback

Sale 34 Cardiff 33: Cipriani comes off the bench to inspire stunning Sharks comeback

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UPDATED:

14:55 GMT, 14 October 2012

Danny Cipriani was Sale's hero as the Premiership strugglers overturned a 27-12 deficit to gain a dramatic, morale-boosting triumph over Cardiff on their return to the Heineken Cup.

The Sharks were trailing by 15 points when Cipriani, making his way back from injury and illness, was introduced from the bench after 49 minutes and he scored one try and created another as Bryan Redpath's men went on to snatch a breathless victory.

Sale gained a 27-26 win over the Blues in their last Heineken Cup campaign at Edgeley Park three years ago and Redpath will be hoping the repeat victory – their first at the new Salford City Stadium – will kick-start their season after opening with six straight defeats.

Back in it: Sale celebrate after Danny Cipriani's (third right) try during the Heineken Cup Pool Six match

Back in it: Sale celebrate after Danny Cipriani's (third right) try during the Heineken Cup Pool Six match

Touching down: Former England back Cipriani scores for the Sharks at Salford City Stadium

Touching down: Former England back Cipriani scores for the Sharks at Salford City Stadium

Cardiff, who played all but five minutes of the match without Sam Warburton due to injury, were still leading 30-24 when they were reduced to 14 men with the sin-binning of replacement Lewis Jones seven minutes from the end.

And the extra man advantage proved crucial as former Munster prop Tony Buckley was driven over for the match-winning try a minute later, although the Sharks were hanging on in the end after Leigh Halfpenny's seventh goal from as many attempts had cut the gap to a solitary point.

The outcome was tough on Wales winger Alex Cuthbert, whose first-half hat-trick of tries looked to have put his side on their way to victory.

The Blues, who went into the game on the back of consecutive defeats in the RaboDirect PRO12, suffered an early blow Warburton went off after just five minutes with a dislocated finger.

Hat-trick: Alex Cuthbert scored three tries but was tackled by Rob Miller and Mark Jennings on this drive

Hat-trick: Alex Cuthbert scored three tries but was tackled by Rob Miller and Mark Jennings on this drive

The Wales captain, who was returning to the side from a hand injury, was in hospital as his team-mates established a 24-9 interval lead, largely due to the efforts of Cuthbert, the 22-year-old hero of Wales' Grand Slam-winning team of last season.

Last season's Cup quarter-finalists took the lead with a third-minute penalty, struck by Halfpenny from two metres inside his own half after Sale were pulled up for obstruction in a promising attacking position.

The incident summed up the Sharks' current problems, with confidence draining away through an inability to finish off promising moves.

Back rower Richie Vernon and Andy Powell were prominent as the home side established early territorial dominance but full-back Rob Miller fumbled centre Will Addison's pass with the line at his mercy while debutant right winger Mark Jennings failed to make the most of a touchline dash.

Crunch: Sale wing Mark Cueto (centre) is tackled by Andy Kyriacou

Crunch: Sale wing Mark Cueto (centre) is tackled by Andy Kyriacou

Sale drew level through the first of four first-half penalties from former Cardiff fly-half Nick Macleod but they quickly fell 17-3 behind after Cuthbert ran in two tries in a three-minute spell.

He was in support of a midfield break by centre Jamie Roberts to score his first on 15 minutes and, before Sale had time to recover, finished off a sweeping move involving Halfpenny and Ceri Sweeney for his second.

Two further penalties from Macleod kept the home side in touch but Cardiff hooker Marc Breeze punished their latest handling error by cutting a swathe through their fragile defence to get Cuthbert over for his hat-trick try on 36 minutes.

Winning moment: Rob Miller scores the crucial penalty kick for Sale to complete the comeback

Winning moment: Rob Miller scores a crucial penalty kick for Sale to complete the comeback

Macleod's fourth penalty on the stroke of half-time made it 24-12 but Halfpenny landed another long-range effort five minutes into the second half to restore his side's 15-point lead.

That was the signal for Redpath to send on Cipriani in a bid to revive their fortunes and within six minutes he had scored his first try for the club, taking a return pass from Addison.

That cut the deficit to 10 points but Miller, handed the goalkicking duties following the withdrawal of Macleod, was wide with the conversion attempt and Halfpenny demonstrated precision to land another long-range penalty to keep his side in the driving seat.

Pull your socks up: Mark Jennings dives over the line to score his debut try for the Sharks

Pull your socks up: Mark Jennings dives over the line to score his debut try for the Sharks

But Cipriani's long pass was gathered by replacement centre Johnny Leota, who got Jennings over for a debut try and Miller's first goal of the afternoon cut the gap to six points.

Then came the sin-binning of Jones and Sale grabbed their opportunity to produce a storming finish, much to the delight of the 5,853 crowd.

Bath 31 Sale 10 match report: Olly Barkley bows out on high

Bath 31 Sale 10: Barkley bows out on high as Sharks slump to fifth defeat

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UPDATED:

15:33 GMT, 29 September 2012

Olly Barkley ended his Bath career on a winning note as struggling Sale slumped to their fifth successive Aviva Premiership defeat of the season.

England international Barkley, who joins French club Racing Metro next week, kicked 16 points, including the conversions of prop David Wilson's try and a late penalty try during a mistake-riddled Recreation Ground clash.

Bath skipper Stuart Hooper also scored, and although Sale delivered a second-half Johnny Leota try converted by Nick Macleod, who slotted an early penalty, the Sharks remain in 12th and last place with just one point.

Allez! Barkley ash played his last game for Bath before moving to France

Allez! Barkley ash played his last game for Bath before moving to France

They dispensed with the services of their forwards coach Steve Scott last weekend two days after a home defeat against newly-promoted London Welsh, and Sharks chief executive Steve Diamond has temporarily taken on that role in support of rugby director Bryan Redpath.

But although Sale competed aggressively at the breakdown – and they looked a far more fluent attacking force after Danny Cipriani appeared as a second-half substitute – there was nothing to seriously suggest an immediate upturn in fortunes.

The current campaign already represents their worst start to a Premiership season during its 15-year existence, but life is not about too get any easier, with Leicester awaiting them next Friday night.

Redpath responded to his team's dismal run by making six changes, which included Macleod replacing former England fly-half Cipriani, but they also arrived in the west country without injured internationals Richie Gray and Dwayne Peel.

Barkley led Bath out, and it took him just 12 minutes to make an impression when he kicked two penalties in quick succession after his opposite number Macleod missed an earlier long-range chance.

Sale offered plenty of endeavour and effort, but Bath looked more dangerous in attack, and they dominated territory despite Macleod cutting Sale's deficit to three points.

Eyes on the prize: Barkley kicked 16b points in the comfortable win

Eyes on the prize: Barkley kicked 16b points in the comfortable win

Barkley, the third highest points scorer in Premiership history behind Charlie Hodgson and Andy Goode, booted Bath 12-3 ahead through two further penalties as Sale struggled to secure meaningful possession.

And the visitors' cause was not helped six minutes before the break when wing Tom Brady received a yellow card following a dangerous challenge on Bath flanker Ben Skirving.

Skirving, tipped over in mid-air by Brady from a restart, was uninjured, but Sale could now only look to end the opening period without suffering further damage on the scoreboard.

Macleod missed a second penalty chance from three attempts as the interval approached, and although Bath trooped off 12-3 ahead they would have gained little satisfaction from a disjointed, error-strewn opening period.

It took them just eight minutes of the second period, though, to score the game's first try, and it was Wilson who injected much-needed ambition.

His intial surge took him inside Sale's 22, and when the visitors ran out of defensive numbers it was Wilson who crashed over from close range, touching the ball down down one-handed.

Barkley added the conversion, but Sale hit back after 59 minutes when concerted and patient work through the phases ended in Leota collecting a try that Macleod improved.

Redpath sent Cipriani on for the final 15 minutes, and his first contribution was a touch-finder that took Sale back into Bath's 22.

There was far more urgency about the visitors than at any other time in the game, and Cipriani's clever chip into space almost produced a try as Bath found themselves under sustained pressure.

Had Sale possessed more attacking composure, then Bath might have been in serious trouble, but they stormed back upfield and their forwards rumbled over, with Hooper the beneficiary.

Hooper's try sealed the deal for Bath, yet even at this early stage of the Premiership season, they look ill-equipped to finish higher than mid-table.

And to complete a miserable afternoon for Sale, they ended the game with 14 men when their Wales international number eight Andy Powell was sin-binned for a high tackle and Bath capitalised by claiming a penalty try when Sale pulled down a scrum on their line.

Sale 19 London Welsh 29: Danny Cipriani not to blame says Bryan Redpath

Sale 19 London Welsh 29: Redpath won't blame Cipriani as Sharks sink

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UPDATED:

21:50 GMT, 21 September 2012

Sale crashed to a fourth successive defeat on Friday night, but head coach Bryan Redpath refused to blame Danny Cipriani.

Cipriani was substituted after 52 minutes after newly promoted London Welsh had built a 26-9 lead to put them on course to a second successive win following Sunday’s upset over Exeter.

Contrast: There was delight for London Welsh and (below) misery for Sale

Contrast: There was delight for London Welsh and (below) misery for Sale

Sulky Sale: Misery

Not to blame: Danny Cipriani was defended by Bryan Redpath

Not to blame: Danny Cipriani was defended by Bryan Redpath

Match facts

Sale: Miller, Brady, Leota, Tuitupou, Cueto, Cipriani, Peel, Roberts, Ward, Cobilas, Gray, Myall, Easter, Seymour, Powell.

Replacements: MacLeod for Cipriani (52), Cliff for Peel (65), Harrison for Roberts (78), Buckley for Cobilas (53), McKenzie for Myall (60), Vernon for Easter (71).

Not Used: Taylor, Uys.

Tries: Brady.

Cons: MacLeod.

Pens: Cipriani 3, MacLeod.

London Welsh: Arscott, Mackenzie, Parker, Tonga'uiha, Scott, Ross, Keats, Montanella, Briggs, Ion, Mills, Corker, Browne, Hills, Jackson.

Replacements: Jewell for Mackenzie (70),
Runciman for Keats (75), Bristow for Montanella (65), Jolly for Ion (67), Kulemin for Mills (45), Williamson for Hills (65).

Not Used: George, Davis.

Tries: Mills, Jackson. Cons: Ross 2.

Pens: Ross 5.

Att: 7,479

Ref: Andrew Small (RFU).

'It’s not Danny’s fault at all,' Redpath reasoned. 'It was about us (Sale) fronting up one to 15 and that did not happen.'

Cipriani, back in English rugby after an 18-month stint in Melbourne, did kick three first-half penalties after missing his first shot.

But the Sale pack failed again to provide decent periods of possession to use his running skills.

Redpath apologised to the Sale fans in a crowd of 7,479 after Welsh had won thanks to first-half tries from captain Jonathan Mills and No 8 Ed Jackson. Ex-Scotland fly half Gordon Ross kicked 19 points.

'What this side is guts and determination,' Welsh head coach Lyn Jones said. 'A lot of players have points to prove and they are determined to do just that.'

Sale fought back in the second half, but only had a try from wing Tom Brady to show for their efforts alongside a conversion and penalty from Macleod.

Redpath added: 'Credit to London Welsh they came and beat us fair and square. They grabbed a 13-0 lead and used a simple game-plan and we did not match it physically.

'Most of our game was not up to speed and that is a big issue. We will take the criticism because our performance was not good enough and we let a lot of people down we came along tonight.'

Danny Cipriani will come good, says Bryan Redpath

Rob Wildman's gainline: Classy Cipriani will come good, says Redpath

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 9 September 2012

Sale director of rugby Bryan Redpath is determined to give Danny Cipriani plenty of time to become a force in the Premiership again.

The fly-half was substituted 60 minutes into his debut for Sale, having kicked four penalties in the 23-16 defeat by Saracens.

He said: ‘You can see he needs some more time with the players around him. He is a threat. He’s a pretty talented rugby player and the more he plays the better he will get.’

On the rise: Danny Cipriani will come good, says Bryan Redpath

On the rise: Danny Cipriani will come good, says Bryan Redpath

Wilko's wanted

Jonny Wilkinson may have lasted only 20 minutes in Toulon’s latest win but the England World Cup winner is still a wanted man.

Lions coach Warren Gatland has said Wilkinson, who has not played internationally since last year’s World Cup, is in contention for the tour to Australia next June. ‘There is a clean slate for everyone. He’s still a fine player and he’s only 33,’ he said.

Fitness race

Australia captain Will Genia faces a race to be fully fit for the Lions tour after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in the 26-19 win over South Africa. The scrum-half is not expected to play for at least six months.

In danger: Will Genia (right) might miss out

In danger: Will Genia (right) might miss out

Coach of the week

Nigel Davies, the new Gloucester coach, following his team’s first away win in the Premiership since last February, a 40-31 victory at London Irish. Fly-half Freddie Burns kicked 25 points.

Player of the week

Bath's Kyle Eastmond for weaving through seven Wasps defenders to score his first Premiership try. ‘We haven’t scratched the surface with Kyle yet,’ said coach Brad Davis after the 30-23 win.