Tag Archives: hooker

Schalk Brits ready to face Ruan Pienaar and Johann Muller

Pride at stake for Brits as Sarries hooker goes head-to-head with fellow Boks

-13.

Main man: Ulster rely heavily on Pienaar's creativity

Main man: Ulster rely heavily on Pienaar's creativity

Brits said: ‘I’ve been blessed with no injuries, and for the first time in two years I don’t feel over-played.

‘The club look after us unbelievably well and in return all we can do is to work very, very hard on the pitch.

‘That’s not been flashy. If it means making 20 tackles or hitting 20 rucks to ensure we win then that’s what we will do.’

SIX NATIONS 2013: England XV to play France

Tuilagi recalled by Lancaster in one of three changes made by England for Le Crunch

By
Rob Wildman

PUBLISHED:

10:45 GMT, 21 February 2013

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UPDATED:

12:15 GMT, 21 February 2013

Stuart Lancaster has urged England to vary their attack against France after confirming his team for Saturday’s RBS Six Nations match at Twickenham.

As predicted by Sportsmail this week England’s head coach has decided to make three changes for the third match en route to a possible Grand Slam.

Following the win over Ireland, Lancaster this morning announced he had recalled centre Manu Tuilagi, hooker Dylan Hartley and flanker Courtney Lawes.

Centre of attention: Manu Tuilagi runs with the ball during England training at Pennyhill Park on Tuesday

Centre of attention: Manu Tuilagi runs with the ball during England training at Pennyhill Park on Tuesday

ENGLAND TEAM TO FACE FRANCE:

15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Joe Marler, 2 Dylan Hartley, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Courtney Lawes, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain).

Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 David Wilson, 19 James Haskell, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Danny Care, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.

All three were substitutes in the win
in Dublin and replace Billy Twelvetrees, Tom Youngs and James Haskell
who are all on the bench this time.

Lancaster is looking to use the
firepower of the trio to tackle a French team who have had endure a
disastrous Six Nations so far in losing to Italy and Wales.

Lancaster explained: ‘We thought long and hard about changing a winning team which did so well against Ireland.

‘But we believe that Dylan, Courtney
and Manu are ready for the opportunity and allow us to vary our play,
while the bench will add impact and energy as the game unfolds in the
second half.

‘The players are really looking
forward to getting back to Twickenham. The atmosphere in the stadium is
fantastic and hopefully the crowd can get behind us in what is sure to
be a great challenge against a motivated and physical French team.’

Meanwhile, France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made eight changes to his starting line-up for Saturday's match.

Making way: Billy Twelvetrees will be on the bench at Twickenham despite his superb show against Scotland

Making way: Billy Twelvetrees will be on the bench at Twickenham despite his superb show against Scotland

FRANCE TEAM TO FACE ENGLAND:

15 Yoann Huget, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Benjamin Fall, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Morgan Parra;
1 Thomas Domingo, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 3 Nicolas Mas, 4 Christophe Samson, 5 Yoann Maestri, 6 Yannick Nyanga, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir (captain).

Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski,
17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Luc Ducalcon,
19 Jocelino Suta, 20 Antonie Claassen,
21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Florian Fritz.

Saint-Andre has opted for a new half-back pairing, with Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc replacing Maxime Machenaud and Frederic Michalak following Les Bleus' 16-6 defeat against Wales at the Stade de France 12 days ago.

Vincent Clerc returns on the right wing, with Wesley Fofana switching to his preferred role of centre for the Twickenham encounter.

Saint-Andre's team head to England after losing their opening two Five or Six Nations games for the first time since 1982.

Wales' success in Paris followed a 23-18 loss in Italy six days previously, meaning the wooden spoon has now become a distinct possibility for the pre-tournament favourites.

'After two defeats in the tournament, we wanted competition and freshness in the squad,' Saint-Andre said. 'We have to have the freshness and enthusiasm.

'We will prepare a lot of fight in Twickenham.'

Lee Mears retires because of heart condition

Former England and Lions hooker Mears forced to retire because of heart condition

By
Duncan Bech, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

11:36 GMT, 11 February 2013

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UPDATED:

11:44 GMT, 11 February 2013

Former England hooker Lee Mears has been forced to retire with immediate effect due to a heart condition.

An abnormality known to occur in some athletes was discovered during a cardiac screening completed by the 33-year-old Bath front row, who announced his international retirement last year.

'There is a significant potential risk of developing further complications if Lee continues to perform the prolonged strenuous exercises required to be an elite rugby player,' read a statement issued by Bath.

A great shame: Lee Mears has been forced to retire because of a heart condition

A great shame: Lee Mears has been forced to retire because of a heart condition

'He has therefore been advised by a specialist to retire from professional rugby.'

More to follow.

Over the line: Mears scores a try for the British and Irish Lions

Over the line: Mears scores a try for the British and Irish Lions

Warren Gatland discusses Lions selection

It wouldn't bother me if I picked 15 English players, says Lions head coach Gatland

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 29 December 2012

Warren Gatland will travel to Australia from his New Zealand home this week as his quest to become the first British and Irish Lions head coach in 16 years to win a Test series begins in earnest.

The 49-year-old former All Black hooker and current Wales head coach, a man who helped Waikato to a 38-10 win over the Lions in 1993, plans to share a beer with fellow Kiwi and Wallaby head coach Robbie Deans when the Lions backroom staff conduct a reconnaissance trip Down Under before returning ahead of a Six Nations tournament that will define his squad selection.

There are so many questions to be answered, such as the make-up of the back row. ‘Can you pick it’ Gatland asks. ‘Because right now I haven’t got a clue.’

Fill the shirt: Head coach Warren Gatland is planning a recce Down Under before picking his Lions squad

Fill the shirt: Head coach Warren Gatland is planning a recce Down Under before picking his Lions squad

But in many areas the former Ireland coach, who also led Wasps to domestic and European success and twice guided Wales to Grand Slams, has made up his mind.

Take the composition of the squad. ‘I’d imagine there will be 35 players made up of a 19 to 16 split between forwards and backs, possibly 20 to 15,’ he reveals. ‘We’ll have three hookers, three 9s, three 10s and an extra prop. It means that in nearly all other positions there’ll be two players fighting it out for one spot.’

Gatland is adamant all four home nations will be represented in the squad, but all politics will go out of the window when it comes to the Test starting XV. ‘It wouldn’t bother me if I picked 15 Englishmen if I thought they were best equipped to beat Australia,’ he says. ‘I don’t think the make-up of the team is the main criteria for getting the job done, although I believe all four nations should have representations in the squad for the morale of the tour. That’s why I hope that Scotland enjoy a good Six Nations because I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn to say representation for the Scots is challenging.’

In deciding his best approach, Gatland has sought advice from two of his predecessors; Sir Ian McGeechan, his boss on the 2009 tour to South Africa that ended in narrow defeat, and fellow Kiwi Graham Henry, who was also Wales coach when he led an ultimately unsuccessful tour to Australia in 2001.

Lion's share: England will be represented in the starting XV

Lion's share: England will be represented in the starting XV

Lion's share: England will be represented in the starting XV

‘Graham told me that coaching the Lions gave him some of the most valuable lessons he ever learned, lessons that he put to good use when he won the World Cup last year for New Zealand,’ says Gatland. ‘He also boosted my confidence by saying how I’m miles more experienced than he was at this point. He was appointed Lions coach 18 months after taking over in Wales. I’ve been coaching in the Northern Hemisphere for the vast majority of the last 24 years.

‘New Zealand try to claim me as a Kiwi coach but, while I was a Kiwi player, I’m most definitely a Northern Hemisphere coach, and very proud to be so.’

The memories of four years ago when Gatland, as forwards coach under McGeechan, saw the Lions lose narrowly are still raw. ‘I’m still hurting from that,’ he says. ‘I recall the tiniest of details, like a lineout the ref deemed wasn’t straight to a Bryan Habana try. I’ll swear until my very last day it was straight.

‘And I’ll never know how Schalk Burger wasn’t sent off, or at the very least sent to the bin, for gouging in the second Test.

‘But I’m proud of what we achieved in 2009 when we put the pride back into the Lions jersey, and regained the respect from the rest of world rugby.’

Second coming: Gatland was part of the Lions coaching team in 2009

Second coming: Gatland was part of the Lions coaching team in 2009

This is in reference to the ill-fated tour of New Zealand in 2005 when Sir Clive Woodward split management and playing staff into midweek and Test groups, resulting in a 3-0 series whitewash.

Gatland, in the forefront of the modern game when it comes to coaching Wales, is more of a traditionalist with the Lions.

‘You have to be more old school for a scratch team who meet up the day after many have played in cup finals and who have been kicking lumps out of each other just a few weeks before,’ he says.

‘Every member of the squad will get to start one of the first three games. That way they won’t throw their toys out of the pram like they did in 2005. It will be good for squad morale.

‘Likewise, I’ll make sure we have a few beers. We’ll have to get the balance right – obviously what happened with England at the World Cup didn’t work out too well – but it’s important the boys enjoy each other’s company and bond.’

For now, Gatland has to choose the right players. He intends to see all four countries as much as possible during the Six Nations, starting with England against Scotland at Twickenham on February 2. He also plans to watch training, although he is wary of his ties with Wales.

Class of 2013: Gatland with his coaches (L-R) Graham Rowntree, Rob Howley and Andy Farrell

Class of 2013: Gatland with his coaches (L-R) Graham Rowntree, Rob Howley and Andy Farrell

‘Stuart Lancaster has offered to let me spend a day watching England train, as has Declan Kidney with Ireland,’ he says. ‘It’s important people feel comfortable and know me well enough to realise I’m not going to go running back to Wales with trade secrets. That would insult me and the coaches’ integrity. If anything, my problem is trying not to be too hard on the Welsh to prove I’m totally unbiased.

‘The coach’s input is vital. I know the players and I can see their stats but I’ll need help to choose the right personalities, an ingredient just as important on a Lions tour.’

He wants consistency from all contenders during the Six Nations, something which has been lacking.

‘If I’d picked the squad after the 2012 Six Nations then there would have been a lot of Welsh Grand Slam winners in it,’ he adds. ‘After the autumn this wouldn’t be the case. If I have the England win over New Zealand in mind then a lot of those guys put their hand up.

‘If we get it right on and off the field we will have a hell of a team, and if that’s the case then we’ll beat Australia. It’s my job now to make sure that happens.’

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.'

Dylan Hartley to face a disciplinary hearing after citing for striking Rory Best

Hartley's discipline problems back in the spotlight after citing for striking Ulster's Best in cup defeat

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UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 11 December 2012

Dylan Hartley is in hot water again, this time for striking rival hooker Rory Best in Friday’s Heineken Cup clash between Northampton and Ulster.

The England hooker, who has served lengthy bans for gouging and biting offences in his turbulent career, is set to face a disciplinary hearing this week after he was cited by French match commissioner Jean-Claude Legendre.

This latest charge is not as serious but his poor disciplinary record might well lengthen his ban if he is found guilty. The International Rugby Board recommends a suspension of from two to eight weeks, depending on the severity of the incident.

Trouble ahead: Dylan Hartley (second left) has been cited for an incident during Morthampton's 25-6 defeat to Ulster in the Heineken Cup on Friday

Trouble ahead: Dylan Hartley (second left) has been cited for an incident during Morthampton's 25-6 defeat to Ulster in the Heineken Cup on Friday

Immediately after Northampton had lost
25-6 to Ulster, Hartley denied that he had been involved in any
incident. But TV pictures highlighted how the pair enveloped each other
after Best had tackled Hartley in the 64th minute.

The flare-up ended when the Northampton player lashed out at the Ireland star, who was not hurt.

Hartley missed England’s autumn games
because of a knee injury and only returned to action two weeks ago. The
injury followed his eight-week suspension last April after he was found
guilty of biting Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris on the arm in England’s
Six Nations win.

Hartley, 26, has been backed by
England forwards coach Graham Rowntree, who said the hooker had worked
hard to improve his discipline following a 26-week ban for a gouging
offence against Wasps players James Haskell and Jonny O’Connor in April
2007.

Keven Mealamu warns England that New Zealand are ready

All Blacks are over sickness bug and ready to leave England's series in tatters, warns Mealamu

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UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 30 November 2012

New Zealand hooker Keven Mealamu has insisted that the illness which hit nearly all of Steve Hansen’s squad earlier in the week has had no adverse effect on their preparations for Saturday’s final autumn international against England at Twickenham.

Hansen revealed on Thursday that the vast majority of his All Blacks squad had been struck by a 24-hour sickness bug which has caused vomiting and diarrhoea.

But despite confirming that he was one of the players affected by the illness, Mealamu – who starts on Saturday – is confident that the world champions are over the worst of it and are fully prepared for the challenge of taking on Stuart Lancaster’s side.

Ready to roll: Keven Mealamu visited the West London Free School today to teach the Year 8 pupils

Ready to roll: Keven Mealamu visited the West London Free School today to teach the Year 8 pupils

Recovered: New Zealanders Mealamu, Adam Thomson and Tawera Kerr-Barlow sign autographs

Recovered: New Zealanders Mealamu, Adam Thomson and Tawera Kerr-Barlow sign autographs

‘Most of the team have been hit by a bit of a bug, but that is the sort of thing that happens on tour,’ explained the 33-year-old veteran of 101 Tests. ‘I think everyone is just getting over it at the right time though.

‘Everyone is well now and certainly feeling a lot better than we did earlier in the week.

‘I became ill with it for a bit on Tuesday night so it wasn’t a good start to the week, but you just have to get on with it, get on with the job and make sure we get the things we need ready for the weekend.

‘Obviously it is something that has come through the team as a bit of a surprise but we have had to put it aside for a second and make sure we are prepared.’

The All Blacks have not played against England since 2010 – when Mealamu was banned for four weeks for headbutting Lewis Moody – and for six of the starting XV it will be the first time they have played at Twickenham, but Mealamu insists that those who have played at HQ before are just as excited about running out at the iconic stadium on Saturday as the rookies are.

‘All the boys understand the magnitude of where we are playing,’ he enthused. ‘It is honestly one of the greatest places to play rugby. The home of rugby.

‘Whether it’s guys that have played there before or not, we all just can’t wait to get on the field and play.’

Top class: Richie McCaw and the rest of the All Blacks were in training yesterday

Top class: Richie McCaw and the rest of the All Blacks were in training yesterday

Illness: The New Zealand squad were struck down with a sickness bug earlier this week

Illness: The New Zealand squad were struck down with a sickness bug earlier this week

A stalwart of the Kiwi side for 10 years now, Mealamu has had to play second fiddle to Andrew Hore so far during this tour, but with his fellow veteran suspended for five weeks for striking Wales lock Bradley Davies in the 33-10 win in Cardiff last weekend, Mealamu is given the chance to start at Twickenham.

The Auckland Blues hooker – no stranger to controversy himself – sympathises with Hore, but he is understandably delighted to be pulling on the All Black No 2 jersey again.

‘There is nothing worse than watching on the sidelines so I am really looking forward to getting back out there and helping the team out,’ said Mealamu, who was talking after an impromptu kick about with budding rugby players from the West London Free School at Regents Park.

‘I think Andrew and the team understood what happened and what it looked like and we knew what was coming. We all have to take on extra responsibility without him and we have to support him as well.’

Challenge: Tom Youngs (centre) will line up against Mealamu

Challenge: Tom Youngs (centre) will line up against Mealamu

Having seen umpteen Red Rose hookers come and go over the last decade, Mealamu lines up opposite another new face on Saturday in the form of Tom Youngs, the 25-year-old Leicester star who’s performances have been one of the major positives for Lancaster this autumn despite defeats to South Africa and Australia in the last two weeks. Mealamu admits he has been impressed by Youngs’ start to Test rugby.

‘I have had a brief look at him over the last week and I know he has just recently converted from being in the backline, so it is quite a good effort from him to be able to play in the front row now,’ said Mealamu. ‘He has done really well.

Ready England will have to make special plans to stop Dan Carter from running the show

Ready England will have to make special plans to stop Dan Carter from running the show

‘I have been impressed with his work around the field and he is quite a physical player. He looks to hit a lot of the rucks and likes to have ball in hand, so for us we’re looking at him as quite an important player for them.’

Having seen several England sides come and go since his All Blacks debut in 2002, Mealamu – who infamously dislocated Brian O’Driscoll’s shoulder in tandem with Tana Umaga in the first Lions Test in 2005 – is a good judge of a Red Rose XV.

Lancaster’s troops have been criticised for lacking a cutting edge going forward, but Mealamu says he has been impressed with the attacking abilities of what he sees as a team breaking with English traditions.

Limbering up: Ma'a Nonu

Relaxing: Ma'a Nonu and Liam Messam (right)

Limbering up: Ma'a Nonu is put through his paces (left), as he relaxes with Liam Messam (right)

‘We will find out more about this England team in time,’ said Mealamu, who started in last year’s World Cup final over France, ‘I think at the moment they are a team that are still working to get that identity going and put a run of good performances together.

‘But for an England side they use the ball really well. They are quite an exciting side to watch and they look to counter really well and I think comparing to England sides in the past they seem more willing to attack.’

But as impressed as Mealamu may be with England’s ability to attack and counter-attack, there is no better side in the world at those two facets of the game than the All Blacks, who have cruised past Scotland, Italy and Wales so far on tour without ever really hitting top gear.

Bouncing back: Chris Robshaw will hope to end the series on a high against the world champions

Bouncing back: Chris Robshaw will hope to end the series on a high against the world champions

But there is no sign of the All Blacks letting up – illness or no illness.

Hansen has picked the strongest side available to him for Saturday’s game and Mealamu says the side are determined to end their tour on a high.

‘We are happy with what we have been able to achieve so far but the tour is not finished yet, we have got one more job to do so we need to make sure we finish well,’ he said. ‘It all comes down to this last game and how we finish.

‘It is against another big foe of ours and who we enjoy playing against. To be playing England at their home, it is a game you have to come over here and make sure you do well.’

All smiles: Chris Ashton (left) shared a joke in training yesterday

All smiles: Chris Ashton (left) shared a joke in training yesterday

Known for playing with a swagger and verve not seen anywhere else on the planet, and as odds-on favourites, New Zealand could be forgiven for targetting not just a win, but a comprehensive one. But Mealamu is having none of it.

‘It is about winning,’ he said. ‘Whether it comes down to one point or whether it is a bigger margin it doesn’t matter, at the end of the day it is just about winning and that is what we are determined to do.’

England, you have been warned.

Bradley Davies slams Andrew Hore"s punishment as lenient

I lose four days of my life… he gets a five-match ban: Concussed Davies slams Hore's lenient punishment for assault

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 28 November 2012

All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore escaped with a 'lenient' five-match ban for a dangerous assault on Bradley Davies that caused the Wales lock to 'lose four days of my life' from concussion.

Hore will miss Saturday's showdown against England but the suspension, reduced from a recommended eight to five weeks because of the 34-year-old's remorse and excellent disciplinary record, means he will miss only two competitive matches.

Davies, who does not know when he will play again, compared the ban to his own case from last season when he was suspended for seven weeks for a tip tackle against Ireland.

Getting off light: Hore arrives for his hearing in Bristol

Getting off light: Hore arrives for his hearing in Bristol

Getting off light: Hore arrives for his hearing in Bristol

Davies said: 'It is a bit lenient when you think I got a 14-week entry point reduced to seven for my tackle.

'I couldn't tell you how it happened until I saw it on TV, but my jaw is still hurting.

'It's rugby, it's done now and I
don't bear any grudges. I know exactly what he feels like. He will feel
terrible. You just can't explain why you did what you did.'

A statement from judicial officer
Lorne Crear described the incident at the start of last Saturday's game
against Wales as 'inherently dangerous, being a deliberate swinging of
the arm, delivered with significant force, causing serious injury'.

Davies is unlikely to play for two or
three weeks after Hore lashed out at him from behind, prompting Wales
coach Rob Howley to call it 'disgraceful'.

Assault: Hore (No 2) charges in and strikes Davies on the head

Assault: Hore (No 2) charges in and strikes Davies on the head

Assault: Hore (No 2) charges in and strikes Davies on the head

Assault: Hore (No 2) charges in and strikes Davies on the head

Assault: Hore (No 2) charges in and strikes Davies on the head

'It's three or four days of my life
gone,' Davies said. 'I lost short-term memory so the only thing I could
remember on Sunday was my dog and doing a plumbing course on the
Wednesday.

'Every day I do a concussion test and at the moment I just can't pass it.' Hore has expressed his regret.

He said: 'I want to say how bad I feel and how embarrassed I am to be in this situation.

'It is not the All Black way and I have let myself down and the team.

'I hope Bradley recovers and gets backup and running as soon as he can.

'I have been on the phone and talked
to him on Sunday about the incident. 'I have to go back and start
building a reputation as a good, clean, hard footy player.'

Concussed: Davies receives treatment on the pitch after the injury

Concussed: Davies receives treatment on the pitch after the injury

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.

Ben Youngs and Tom Youngs sign new contracts at Leicester

Youngs boost for Leicester as brothers extend stay at Welford Road

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UPDATED:

10:08 GMT, 20 November 2012

Leicester have announced new long-term contracts for England internationals Ben and Tom Youngs.

The brothers are currently part of
head coach Stuart Lancaster's England set-up, and both were involved in
last Saturday's 20-14 home defeat against Australia.

Family affair: Tom Youngs (right) and brother Ben (left) with father Nick

Family affair: Tom Youngs (right) and brother Ben (left) with father Nick

Scrum-half Ben has won 26 caps and recently clocked up a century of appearances for the Tigers. He made his Leicester debut five years ago and has played in four Premiership finals.

Hooker Tom, meanwhile, made his Test debut against Fiji earlier this month, having first featured for Leicester as a centre in 2006 before being converted into a front-row forward.

Both players are Leicester academy products.

Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill said: 'It is excellent news that both Tom and Ben have agreed new deals with us. They are both very important to the club.

Youngs at heart: Ben and Tom played against Australia at the weekend

Youngs at heart: Ben and Tom played against Australia at the weekend

'They have grown up in a Leicester Tigers family. Their dad Nick played for the club, they know the history of this place and they have come all the way through the academy system here before establishing themselves as key first-team players.

'Ben and Tom both have an excellent attitude to their work.

'They are the kind of players we want to build the club around for the future, and we look forward to their continued development in the Tigers squad over the years to come.'