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Aviva Premiership: London Welsh 26 Harlequins 31

London Welsh 26 Harlequins 31: O'Shea slams error-strewn referee despite returning to Aviva Premiership summit

By
Gary Baker

PUBLISHED:

18:43 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

21:56 GMT, 6 January 2013

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea launched a furious attack on the referee after his side returned to the top of the Aviva Premiership with this bonus-point win.

O’Shea accused official Llyr ApGeraint Roberts of a catalogue of errors, saying: ‘I’m unbelievably frustrated. You’d have to go a long way to see worse.

‘Everything was wrong – it was incredible. The offside line was irrelevant, trailing runners coming back was irrelevant, backing into the maul, not releasing in the tackle – all irrelevant.'

First blood: In-form Danny Care scored Quins' first try

First blood: In-form Danny Care scored Quins' first try

He added: ‘We were 21-6 up at
half-time but bafflingly, the penalty count was against us. How can that
be We have a feedback process for the referees but it’s not actioned
upon and it’s very difficult at times.’

It is the second time in a week,
following equally frustrated comments by Leicester’s Richard Cockerill
when giving his verdict on Andrew Small’s decisions in the Tigers’ 17-12
win over Gloucester, that a major club figure has questioned
officialdom.

O’Shea added: ‘This is just a bit of
moral support as well for Cockers last week. I am just mightily
frustrated. I have vented in the dressing room to the players.'

Reliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot was again vital to Quins

Reliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot wasReliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot was again vital to Quins again vital to Quins

He continued: ‘Something has to be done. Not all of
these guys (refs) are full time. Let’s be fair – our jobs are on the
line every week and it is a strange position to say, “Well, they are not
full time but that’s fine”.’

Quins were great in the first half as
London Welsh seemed on course for a crushing defeat, and O’Shea was
happy with his players’ performance.

‘We played some magnificent running
in the first 45 minutes and that’s what we should be talking about – our
full back, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, dazzled people with his footwork,’
O’Shea said.

Leading by example: Robshaw added another try

Leading by example: Robshaw added another try

ENGLAND WATCH

Captain Chris Robshaw was firing on all cylinders.

He battered his way over for a try and was lucky not to find himself in the sin bin when he came in from the side at a ruck.

But he had a good game and came through unscathed.

Danny Care started brilliantly and darted through the smallest of gaps to score.

But he faded and was replaced by Karl Dickson.

England scrum-half Danny Care and
national skipper Chris Robshaw, plus centre George Lowe, got Quins
first-half tries, and the bonus point came after Nick Evans added a
fourth touchdown.

Wing Nick Scott and the boot of
stand-off Gordon Ross brought Welsh back from the dead and an Ed Jackson
intercept-try threatened a real shock.

But Quins hit back in the closing moments and nearly got another at the end, only a defiant defence halting them.

Welsh head coach Lyn Jones praised his team’s efforts, saying: ‘At half-time, we were staring down the barrel,’ he said,

‘We started the second half well, we
were still in there and we needed to get the first score, which we did.
We had a chance to win but their class and ability shone through in the
end.

‘They are a very good side and it’s a
pity more sides don’t play like them. We are showing determination and
spirit and are good enough to stay in this league.’

Fighting back: The Exiles battle to reduce the deficit

Fighting back: The Exiles battle to reduce the deficit

Calf-injury victim Gavin Henson was
absent from the Welsh line-up, but Jones is optimistic that he will be
able to call upon his services soon.

‘I saw him last Saturday and he was due to train on Wednesday, but his leg wasn’t good enough,’ Jones said.

‘Hopefully, he will play as soon as possible, but it’s a calf injury and I don’t want my players to rush back.’

Leicester 17 Gloucester 12: Anthony Allen scores against former club

Leicester 17 Gloucester 12: Tigers leap up to second as Allen crosses against former club

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UPDATED:

20:04 GMT, 29 December 2012

Leicester fought off a rousing finish from Gloucester to win a thrilling match 17-12 at Welford Road and jump two places to second in the Aviva Premiership.

Trailing by five points Gloucester threw everything at Leicester in the final few minutes and were twice thwarted by the Tigers' last ditch defence on the line.

Anthony Allen scored the only try of the match against his former club seven minutes after half-time following intense pressure from a Leicester pack that dominated a match in which four players were yellow carded.

Try-time: Anthony Allen goes over for the game's only five-pointer

Try-time: Anthony Allen goes over for the game's only five-pointer

Leicester's other points came from fly-half George Ford, who kicked three penalties, and Geordan Murphy who added another. Fly-half Freddie Burns slotted four for Gloucester.

The withdrawal of England fly-half Toby Flood through illness deprived a capacity 24,000 crowd of a shoot-out with Gloucester's rising star Burns, who made his England debut as a replacement against the All Blacks.

It did, however, lead to a battle of the young pretenders for the England No 10 spot, with 19-year-old Ford called up to replace Flood. On a pitch made heavy by recent rain their kicking was more important than usual.

Burns won the battle in the first half, slotting two penalties out of three to Ford's one from three, giving Gloucester a 6-3 half time lead.

They would have been more than happy with that after spending most of the 40 minutes on the back foot, especially in the scrums where they were continuously marched backwards as if on wheels.

Mismatch: Gloucester No 8 Ben Morgan is tackled by George Ford

Mismatch: Gloucester No 8 Ben Morgan is tackled by George Ford (right)

Leicester dominated that set piece so much that referee Andrew Small eventually lost patience in the 24th minute and showed Gloucester tight head prop Shaun Knight a yellow card.

Leicester, however, were unable to take advantage and around the half-hour mark they opted for four successive scrums near the Gloucester line instead of taking the three points from a penalty and came away with nothing.

Gloucester were awarded a penalty at the fourth scrum, escaped their own half and saw Leicester reduced to 14 men when scrum-half Ben Youngs was sin-binned for killing the ball. It was his second yellow card in successive games.

Burns missed the 45-metre penalty but he had already succeeded with penalties in the eighth and 27th minutes, while Ford's only success came in the fifth minute. He missed penalties in the 21st and 29th minutes, and he topped the second one so badly it hardly got off the ground.

The second half started with a bang and within seven minutes Burns had kicked his third penalty, and Leicester had scored a try and seen another player sin-binned.

High hopes: Manu Tuilagi performs acrobatics for the home side

High hopes: Manu Tuilagi performs acrobatics for the home side

Burns' penalty came after Ford was yellow carded for killing the ball in front of his own posts as he attempted to make amends for a move which went horribly wrong, his pass to Manu Tuilagi going to ground and allowing Burns to hack the ball upfield.

As Ford trooped off Youngs came back on and he provided the scoring pass from a ruck on the line for former Gloucester centre Allen to score in the corner after intense pressure from the Tigers pack.

Murphy, who took over the kicking duties from Ford, missed the conversion but slotted a penalty after Gloucester lock Will James became the fourth player to be binned.

That put Leicester 11-9 ahead and Burns missed a chance to restore Gloucester's lead when he was wide with a difficult 57th minute penalty.

Ford made it 14-9 with a penalty shortly after returning to the pitch as Leicester continued to dominate but Burns put Gloucester back in the game with a long range penalty 11 minutes from time.

Ford kicked his third penalty to make it 17-12 and while Gloucester staged a grandstand finish Leicester held on.

Martin Castrogiovanni is linked with a move to French side Toulon

Cash-go-giovanni: Toulon must stump up if they want Martin

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UPDATED:

22:01 GMT, 28 December 2012

French big-spenders Toulon must stump up a transfer fee if Leicester to part with Italian tight-head Martin Castrogiovanni.

Speculation in France has pointed to Castrogiovanni joining the likes of Jonny Wilkinson next season, but the Argentinian-born forward has a year still to run on a three-year deal at Leicester.

The 31-year-old is on the bench Saturday in Leicester’s Aviva Premiership match at home to Gloucester having returned from a trip back to Argentina for family reasons before Christmas.

Heading for the exit Italy and Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni (right) has been linked with a move away from Welford Road

Heading for the exit Italy and Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni (right) has been linked with a move away from Welford Road

But Leicester’s director of rugby Richard Cockerill said the player had not asked for a move though he was aware of the interest from a French club who also said to be chasing Bath scrum-half Michael Claassens.

Cockerill added: ‘He’s under contract for another season.

'We have accepted transfer fee for our players in the past but at this time the player hasn’t come and seen me and said he wants to leave and we have had no official approach from Toulon.

‘So at this point Castro is our player and is here for another season. If Toulon have enough money to buy him out of his contract with us that might be an option, but at this point he is our player and we are more than happy to have him.’

Or not: However, Leicester Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill (pictured) has said that the player has not asked for a move as yet

Or not However, Leicester Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill (pictured) has said that the player has not asked for a move as yet

Castrogiovanni has made himself a popular member of the Leicester squad since he joined in 2006 and has always given full credit to the club for helping him become one of the most powerful props in the world.

Leicester might be interested in off-loading him in an effort to keep within the Premiership salary cap budget of 4.5 million a season.

When Castrogiovanni signed his latest deal two years ago, it was reported he was on a deal of well over 200,000 per season.

Since then, however, Leicester have developed Dan Cole into a tight-head of international repute and have high hopes that Fraser Balmain, a recruit from Newcastle, will also become another top-class prop.

The rise of Cole: The emergence of Dan Cole (pictured) as a world-class prop has limited the popular Italian's playing time in recent seasons

The rise of Cole: The emergence of Dan Cole (pictured) as a world-class prop has limited the popular Italian's playing time in recent seasons

Cockerill has admitted that he faces a fight to keep all his top players, including England lock Geoff Parling who has yet to agree a new deal.

Gloucester, who are losing Scotland lock Jim Hamilton to France, are reported to be heading the queue.

Parling starts today against Gloucester having had to do substitute duty in last week’s win over London Irish. But there is no place yet in the Leicester squad for Tom Croft, the England flanker, who is poised to make his comeback from a serious neck injury sustained last April.

Cockerill said: ‘When you have been out for that amount of time you have to be careful coming back into big fixtures. Tom will have to wait another week or so maybe which won't hurt him.’

Mike Nicholls, former Gloucester captain has died

Flag flies at half mast at Gloucester as club mourns legendary captain Nicholls

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UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 24 December 2012

Former Gloucester captain Mike Nicholls has died, the club have announced.

Nicholls made 483 first team appearances for the Cherry and Whites in a career that spanned 17 years, lifting the club's first trophy after a 17-6 victory over Moseley in the final of the 1972 national cup.

Following his retirement as a player, Nicholls served the club as a coach and a member of the committee.

Legend: Former Gloucester captain Mike Nicholls has died

Legend: Former Gloucester captain Mike Nicholls has died

Legend: Former Gloucester captain Mike Nicholls has died

A statement on the club website said: 'Everyone at Gloucester Rugby is saddened to hear of the passing of former captain, and one of the true legends of the club, Mike Nicholls.

'Out of respect for Mike, the Gloucester Rugby flag at Kingsholm is flying at half mast today, and will do so until after the funeral, details of which will be communicated in due course.

'A player who led from the front, the long serving hooker captained Gloucester for three seasons, 1970-71, 1971-72 and then again 1973-74.

'Under his captaincy the team were a formidable unit, not always pretty to watch but very effective.

'Under Mike Nicholls' inspiring leadership the team consistently turned on performances on the big occasions.

'Mike's career was at a pinnacle in the club's centenary season of 1973-74 when his team recorded a club record of 39 wins and scored 1000 points. Their 24-14 win against an International XV in the centenary match is remembered by all who were there.

'The Gloucester playing record during the three years of his captaincy speaks for itself: P154 W107 L35 D9. He is regarded as one of the finest captains the club has known.

'Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.'

Owen Farrell starts for England v New Zealand

Farrell starts in place of injured Flood as Lancaster names England XV to face All Blacks

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UPDATED:

10:15 GMT, 29 November 2012

England will give Owen Farrell his first international start since June in Saturday’s visit of world champions New Zealand to Twickenham.

Farrell was today named by head coach Stuart Lancaster in an England team aiming to topple New Zealand for the first time since 2003. He is the only change to the team who started last Saturday’s 15-16 defeat by South Africa.

The fly half continues after taking over from Toby Flood, who injured his toe, early in the second half against South Africa.

Starting role: Farrell has been used as a replacement this autumn

Starting role: Farrell has been used as a replacement this autumn

He will be winning his 12th cap and a first start since the opening Test of the summer series against South Africa last June.

Lancaster has also made two changes to his list of substitutes by bringing in Northampton lock Courtney Lawes for Saracens’ Mouritz Botha and Gloucester’s fly half Freddie Burns for the promoted Farrell.

An upbeat Lancaster believes England produced a much better performance against South Africa after also losing to Australia the previous week.

He said: 'We asked for a big response
from the players after Australia and we got one last Saturday against
South Africa, although ultimately we were denied.

Debut chance: Burns is likely to be used from the bench

Debut chance: Burns is likely to be used from the bench

England (v New Zealand, Twickenham, Saturday, 2.30):

Goode (Saracens); Ashton
(Saracens), Tuilagi (Leicester), Barritt (Saracens), Brown
(Harlequins); Farrell (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester); Corbisiero
(London Irish), Tom Youngs (Leicester), Cole (Leicester), Parling
(Leicester), Launchbury (Wasps), Wood (Northampton), Robshaw
(Harlequins, capt), Morgan (Gloucester).

Subs: Paice (London Irish),
Vunipola (Saracens), Wilson (Bath), Lawes (Northampton), Haskell
(Wasps), Care (Harlequins), Joseph (London Irish), Burns (Gloucester).

'That frustration has been channelled this week and the whole squad has reacted with a determination to get a victory against the top team in the world.

'We are delighted that Courtney has got an opportunity. He has worked hard to get back in contention and what better game for him to make an impact.

'The same with Freddie Burns, who has had a great Premiership season so far, and we are looking forward to seeing him contribute should he get his chance.'

Owen Farrell warned but preferred to Freddie Burns to replace Toby Flood

A slap on the wrist for Farrell… but he's in ahead of Fred to replace Flood

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 26 November 2012

Owen Farrell was given a stark warning on Monday about the need to respect the decisions of his England captain, then cleared to replace the injured Toby Flood at No 10 against New Zealand in preference to the country’s form fly-half.

The 21-year-old Saracens stand-off will be handed the conductor’s baton for Saturday’s showdown with the world champions at Twickenham, having been reminded about the need to follow orders.

Four days ago, Farrell challenged Chris Robshaw’s decision to kick for goal rather than for the corner in the closing minutes against South Africa and his prolonged objections were condemned as public dissent.

Warned but still selected: Owen Farrell (right) was rebuked but will play in a key role on Saturday

Warned but still selected: Owen Farrell (right) was rebuked but will play in a key role on Saturday

When the squad held their weekly review, he was left in no doubt that a repeat rebellion will not be tolerated.

Asked if Farrell had been admonished, head coach Stuart Lancaster said: ‘The players said it rather than me. The captain makes the decision and we get on with it. Everyone has got that lesson learned now. Nothing more needs to be said to an individual.’

Having shown solidarity with his captain, Lancaster then supported Farrell for the task of replacing Flood, who has a toe injury.

The inclusion in the squad of uncapped Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns offers an exciting option. But Lancaster said: ‘Owen has a lot of credit in the bank from what he achieved for us in the Six Nations.

‘He had a long, hard season but I don’t think his form dropped off as dramatically as people made out. I know he has been a bit frustrated; he had a slow start to this season because of an injury.

‘We base a lot of our selection on what we see in training. He has trained well and he looked accomplished when he came on against South Africa. I have no problem with Owen whatsoever.

Red hot: Freddie Burns is in good form but was overlooked

Red hot: Freddie Burns is in good form but was overlooked

‘I am disappointed for Toby but excited to get Freddie in, to have a player like that — in form, confident, coming in to make potentially his first appearance, against the All Blacks.’

So Farrell will take the No 10 shirt and Burns must wait for his chance on the bench.

Tale of the 10s

But Lancaster acknowledged that the creative newcomer provides different qualities to the established No 10s and suggested that the revitalised environment at Gloucester has been a major factor in Burns’ rapid rise this season.

‘Nigel Davies deserves a lot of credit for Freddie’s form, due to the way Gloucester are playing,’ said Lancaster, referring to the club’s Welsh director of rugby.

‘He also benefits from having Billy Twelvetrees outside him — he feels comfortable playing alongside Billy. Freddie is a quality player. I want more strength in depth in every position and he gives us that. It is a great opportunity for him.’

Burns has played with highly effective freedom for Gloucester this season and Davies said: ‘Freddie is really maturing. He is putting us in the right areas and he’s turning the opportunities into points. He’s on top of his game at the moment, playing superbly well. I think he’s got everything an international outside-half needs. His game-management has been excellent and he’s always a threat.

Missing: Toby Flood will not be able to play against New Zealand

Missing: Toby Flood will not be able to play against New Zealand

‘Even on a boggy field with a wet ball, he looks dangerous. You just can’t move off him too early. He’s an exceptional player.’

Lancaster made it abundantly clear yesterday that Robshaw, despite the storm of debate around his penalty decision last Saturday, will lead England against the All Blacks and retains his full backing.

‘We have the New Zealand game coming up and I definitely won’t be making any changes in that regard,’ said the head coach. ‘Chris Robshaw had a fantastic game for us. He was the top carrier, the top tackler and he hit more breakdowns than any other player in the squad. He has done a great job for us in this series.

‘It was a difficult decision (about the late penalty). It is the captain’s responsibility to make the decision and we are disappointed we didn’t make the decision work for him, so ultimately we feel responsible as a group.’

England’s coaches are optimistic that Alex Corbisiero’s knee injury will clear up in time for him to start Saturday’s match, despite Nick Wood being brought into the squad to provide additional cover at loosehead prop.

FA Cup shocks continue as Dorchester beat Plymouth

FA Cup shocks continue as Dorchester beat Plymouth and Altrincham hold Burton

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UPDATED:

19:44 GMT, 4 November 2012

Jake Gosling's second-half strike helped non-league Dorchester produce another FA Cup upset this weekend as they reached the second round with a 1-0 win over npower League Two side Plymouth.

The Pilgrims got off to the worst possible start when Conor Hourihane picked up two yellow cards inside the opening 10 minutes.

Exeter loanee Gosling, released by Plymouth aged 16, converted from close range after a left-wing cross had been flicked on by long-serving defender Mark Jermyn to book the Blue Square Bet South side a second round clash at fellow non-league outfits Luton or Nuneaton.

Happy days: Dorchester Town celebrate their shock win over Plymouth

Happy days: Dorchester Town celebrate their shock win over Plymouth

Only a late strike from Calvin Zola prevented another surprise result as Burton snatched a 3-3 draw at home to Blue Square Bet North side Altrincham.

Albion are play-off contenders in League Two and although Altrincham striker Damian Reeves saw his fourth-minute spot-kick saved, they still took a 2-0 half-time lead thanks to Carl Rodgers' strike and Nathan Stanton's own goal.

Zander Diamond halved the deficit and Robbie Weir missed a penalty before Jacques Maghoma levelled proceedings.

Lucky escape: Zander Diamond scores Burton's second goal against Altrincham

Lucky escape: Zander Diamond scores Burton's second goal against Altrincham

Burton still looked to be heading out when defender Damien McCrory put through his own net in the 86th minute but Zola spared their blushes to ensure a replay, with Crewe awaiting the winners.

Gloucester City and Leyton Orient's clash as well as Braintree's encounter with League One leaders Tranmere both fell foul of the weather, with Alfreton and Chesterfield awaiting the respective winners.

New dates for the rearranged games are yet to be announced.

Leicester 16 Northampton 12

Leicester 16 Northampton 12: Tigers fail to impress as Ford misfires in front of posts

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UPDATED:

19:56 GMT, 3 November 2012

Leicester managed to grind out an unspectacular victory over their fierce local rivals at Welford Road.

Tigers could afford for young fly-half George Ford to miss five penalties and still triumph, courtesy of centre Matt Smith's second half try and 11 points by the young number 10.

On another day, Ford's inaccuracy might have proved costly, but Northampton, who were restricted to four Ryan Lamb penalties, lacked the firepower and tactical acumen to punish Leicester.

Main man: Matt Smith helped Leicester to a narrow win

Main man: Matt Smith helped Leicester to a narrow win

Saints led 6-3 just before half-time, but Leicester then scored 10 unanswered points – highlighted by Smith's 53rd minute touchdown – and Northampton could find no way back.

The game, shorn of several England players through a combination of unavailability a week before the autumn Test series opener against Fiji and injuries, never moved out of second gear.

Despite the game's derby status, it lacked aggression for the large part, and once Leicester edged in front they were able to close out the game reasonably comfortably.

Australian flanker Julian Salvi, back in action following a hand injury, was easily the most effective performer on either side, and his workaholic efforts were ultimately rewarded with victory.

Although Leicester's stay at the Premiership summit is likely to prove short-lived, it was a victory they desperately needed following last weekend's narrow loss at Gloucester, and Northampton remain without a win at Welford Road since 2007.

Off form: George Ford

Off form: George Ford

Leicester were without six players on England duty ahead of the forthcoming autumn Tests, but scrum-half Ben Youngs and centre Anthony Allen started after being released by red rose boss Stuart Lancaster.

Injured England forwards Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes highlighted Northampton's list of absentees, but Calum Clark made an immediate return to action in Saints' back-row after completing a 32-week suspension.

Clark was cited and banned for hyper-extending Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins' arm in the LV= Cup final last season, and a quirk of the fixture list meant he made his return to action at the Tigers' lair.

Lamb nudged Northampton into a fourth minute lead through an angled penalty, and Saints dominated early territorial exchanges, culminating in Lamb finding his range again for a 6-0 advantage.

In contrast, Tigers' 19-year-old playmaker Ford – starting instead of an unavailable Toby Flood – missed two penalty chances in two minutes, although he did find his range with a third attempt that cut Northampton's lead.

But Ford missed another penalty seven minutes later, snatching badly at a strike that was well within his range, and Saints stayed in the ascendancy as they chased a rare victory on Leicester soil.

Tigers suffered an injury blow six minutes before the break when their former England lock Louis Deacon's injury-ravaged run continued as he was forced off nursing a shoulder problem that saw him replaced by Ed Slater.

Lamb rifled a drop-goal attempt wide from Saints' next attack, yet for a derby clash often associated with a white-hot atmosphere, the opening 40 minutes proved strangely tepid.

Tussle: Vereniki Goneva of Leicester is tackled by Samu Manoa

Tussle: Vereniki Goneva of Leicester is tackled by Samu Manoa

Ford landed an equalising penalty with the final kick of the half, but entertainment value had been a premium as the teams trooped off level at 6-6.

It took Leicester less than two minutes of the second period to go ahead for the first time, with Saints unable to free themselves from trouble just outside their 22.

Youngs' slick service from the scrum base gave Tigers time and space, and Smith was worked over cleverly from close range by substitute Vereniki Goneva for a try that Ford converted.

Leicester had visibly increased the tempo, and although Lamb completed his penalty hat-trick shortly afterwards, Tigers looked capable for the first time of taking charge.

Ford made it 16-9 in the 53rd minute when Saints hooker Mike Haywood was penalised for a high and late tackle on home skipper Geordan Murphy, which underlined a slow turning of the screw by Leicester.

There was much greater urgency about Leicester than there had been before the break, and with Ford also growing in confidence, Tigers were able to pin their opponents back.

Lamb booted a fourth penalty with six minutes left to set a few nerves jangling in the Leicester camp, but they held on to claim the victory their supremacy in key areas deserved, helped when Lamb was sin-binned three minutes from time for barging Allen off the ball.

Steve Diamond fears for Sale Sharks

Diamond fears relegation could spell the end for Sharks after Redpath dismissal

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UPDATED:

23:21 GMT, 30 October 2012

Sale chief executive Steve Diamond fears his club could go into ‘oblivion’ if they are relegated next May.

Diamond took full command on Tuesday after confirming that Bryan Redpath had been removed as director of rugby following seven successive Aviva Premiership defeats.

Sale have offered the former Scotland scrum-half another coaching role but Diamond will be in charge of playing affairs alongside John Mitchell, the former coach of the All Blacks.

Warning: Steve Diamond fears for the future of Sale Sharks

Warning: Steve Diamond fears for the future of Sale Sharks

Diamond said: ‘The whole fabric of the club is in danger of going into oblivion. The club is 150 years old and we don’t want it going out of the Premiership. There are only 22 games and we’ve lost a third of those.’

Mitchell, who started his coaching career at the club in the late 1990s, was recruited as a consultant after Diamond sacked forwards coach Steve Scott following Sale’s home loss to newly promoted London Welsh in September.

Diamond said he was making further ‘changes’ not ‘dismissals’ in removing Redpath only four months after he joined from Gloucester.

‘All the talks are very positive at the moment,’ added Diamond. ‘I certainly want him involved and John Mitchell thinks he does a good job.’

Sakced: Bryan Redpath paid the price for a bad run of form

Sakced: Bryan Redpath paid the price for a bad run of form

The upheaval comes after Sale had started the season on a high following the recruitment of Danny Cipriani and Scotland lock Richie Gray and the move into a new stadium at Salford.

Diamond said: ‘The easiest thing is to blame the players, but we’re bigger than that and we’ve got to look to ourselves on the management side. ‘The club is massively important and we don’t want to see that damaged.

‘As chief executive I’ve got to take full responsibility and what you do in these positions is bring people in who are capable, with a proven track record of doing a good job.

‘John’s knowledge is extensive and he’s coached in a lot of environments, and brought a lot of things to the party already.

‘Motivation and direction, that’s what our players need. We want Bryan to be in the thick of it with John and me.’

Gloucester 27 Leicester 21: Freddie Burns sends message to Stuart Lancaster

Gloucester 27 Leicester 21: Burns sends message to Lancaster with virtuoso display

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UPDATED:

20:14 GMT, 27 October 2012

Freddie Burns emerged as an England contender worthy of Stuart Lancaster’s immediate attention as Gloucester increased their run of unbeaten matches to eight against Leicester on Saturday.

The form fly-half of the season completely upstaged the man in possession of the England No 10 jersey, Toby Flood, who is favourite to start at fly-half in the autumn internationals.

Class apart: Burns was outstanding for Gloucester

Class apart: Burns was outstanding for Gloucester

Class apart: Burns was outstanding for Gloucester

Burns is not in Lancaster’s 32-man Elite
Player Squad which will meet up at Burton this week but he scored a try
of international class and cheated difficult windy conditions to give
Gloucester a deserved victory as Tigers lost ground on Saracens at the
top of the Aviva Premiership.

It would be a bold move to call up the 22-year-old now, but Burns will
surely be the first cab off the rank should an England back suffer an
injury between now and the opening game against Fiji on November 10.

High hopes: Louis Deacon rises to collect a lineout ball

High hopes: Louis Deacon rises to collect a lineout ball

Gloucester built a six-point half-time lead, upstaging a side brimming with England players.

Their momentum was established from the second minute when Charlie
Sharples surged on to Burns’ tap ahead to go over in the corner. Burns’
conversion swerved viciously in a high wind before splitting the
uprights.

Flood reduced the deficit from a penalty before Burns replicated the England player’s accuracy from a penalty.

Outshone: England fly-half Toby Flood

Outshone: England fly-half Toby Flood

Tigers relieved the pressure when Scott Hamilton tore on to Manu
Tuilagi’s pass for a disputed try.

The video referee showed Ben Morgan
had not blocked Hamilton’s stretch for a touchdown for Tigers to close
the gap.

Burns thrilled the crowd with Gloucester’s second try in the 20th minute.

Star attraction: Leicester and England centre Manu Tuilagi

Star attraction: Leicester and England centre Manu Tuilagi

Receiving a pass from scrum-half Jimmy Cowan, Burns chip kicked to
himself to take out a Leicester player and raced over the line before
converting his own touchdown.

A Flood penalty made it 17-11 at the break but the match was settled
midway through the second-half when James Simpson-Daniel burned off the
Tigers defence and send Akapusi Qera over for a Gloucester try. Burns
made it three conversions out of three.

But referee John Doyle’s decision to show Cowan and Rob Cook yellow
cards for infringements when Gloucester were absorbing heavy Tigers
pressure reduced the home team’s numerical strength dramatically.

Winner: Akapusi Qera goes over for Gloucester

Winner: Akapusi Qera goes over for Gloucester

No sooner had the culprits left the pitch than the referee awarded
Leicester a penalty try, converted by Flood, which reduced the arrears
to 27-21.

But the Tigers wasted their numerical advantage to suffer their second Aviva Premiership defeat of the season.