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    Penalty goals: Bai,
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Saint-Andre backs Peel

Last updated: 24th January 2009   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Saint-Andre backs Peel

Peel: Left out by Wales

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Sharks boss buoys scrum-half after Six Nations omission

Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre was quick to sing the praises of Dwayne Peel after the scrum-half scored a try in his side's 26-17 Heineken Cup win against Clermont Auvergne.

Peel was controversially left out of Wales' Six Nations squad by head coach Warren Gatland at the start of the week.

Saint-Andre admitted the former Llanelli Scarlets star took that announcement hard, but Peel issued a strong riposte with a sparkling performance in a match which saw Sale run in three tries in total.

"He was very low at the beginning of the week but he knows that the best way to respond was to show them today," the Frenchman said.

"He played very well. He was very good in defence and did a lot of work. He scored a good try and showed that he could have done a job for the Six Nations.

"But I will have Richard Wigglesworth and Dwayne Peel next week so, in a selfish way, it is not too bad."

He also disputed the reason given for the omission of the 64-times capped Peel, adding: "It is better to tell us why he is not picked and not to say it is because he does not play enough with us because that is not true."

Future

Saint-Andre, who is leaving the Guinness Premiership club at the end of the season to be replaced current head coach Kingsley Jones, also refused to speculate on his own future.

He added: "I am very focused to finish well in the Guinness Premiership.

"If we can win next week at Worcester, we can be in the top two after 12 games so this is not a problem.

"And now I don't have a problem with this because it is Kingsley who comes in every morning with all the worry!"

Wing Oriol Ripol and number eight David Tait scored Sale's other tries, while centre Thomas Combezou and wing Napolioni Nalaga went over for Clermont.

The victory competed a double for Sale over Clermont in the competition and was particularly welcome after their 37-14 mauling in Munster last weekend.

It also ended any chance the French side had of reaching into the quarter-finals through the back door as a best runner-up.

Stronger

Clermont head coach Vernon Cotter reflected on the defeat and said his side would come back stronger in the future.

"I thought we got our hands on the ball often enough and led for the better part of the game. They played the better rugby in the second half," he said.

"The match slipped away from us and Sale played stronger. The most important thing was the way we played and I think we will go away reasonably satisfied with what we wanted to do.

"There are things we can and can't control. We tried to play with good intention."

Forthcoming European Rugby Champions Cup Fixtures
TimeFixture
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday 5th December
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Montpellier vs Bath
Saturday 6th December
13:00Sale vs Saracens
17:30Munster vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Ulster vs Scarlets
13:00Benetton Treviso vs Northampton
15:15Ospreys vs Racing Metro 92
Sunday 7th December
13:00Castres vs Wasps
15:15Harlequins vs Leinster
17:30Leicester vs Toulon
15:15Toulouse vs Glasgow
Friday 12th December
19:45Bath vs Montpellier
Saturday 13th December
17:15Saracens vs Sale
19:45Leinster vs Harlequins
15:15Toulon vs Leicester
13:00Glasgow vs Toulouse
15:15Northampton vs Benetton Treviso
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Ospreys
Sunday 14th December
15:15Clermont Auvergne vs Munster
13:00Wasps vs Castres
17:15Scarlets vs Ulster
Saturday 17th January
TBCSaracens vs Munster
TBCSale vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCHarlequins vs Wasps
TBCLeinster vs Castres
TBCLeicester vs Scarlets

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Phil Edwards

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