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- Aviva Premiership
- 28th Dec 2012
- KO 20:00
- Ground: Salford City Stadium
- Att: 6,347
Aviva Premiership: Struggling Sale Sharks defeat Worcester Warriors
Sale closed the gap on nearest rivals London Irish at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership table with a hard-fought 33-27 victory over Worcester.
The Sharks trailed 9-0 and then 16-7 at Salford City Stadium but battled back in a feisty encounter to claim just their second league triumph of the season so far, meaning they are now only a point adrift at the foot of the standings.
An 18-point haul from the recalled Danny Cipriani complimented tries from Richie Gray, James Gaskell and Mark Cueto, whose score saw him draw level with former team-mate Steve Hanley's all-time Premiership record of 75.
Former England international Andy Goode kicked three penalties to put the Warriors into an early lead before Sale grabbed the opening try, Gray forcing his way over through a pack of bodies.
Yet Worcester hit back with a try of their own, Matt Kvesic's simple offload sending fellow flanker Neil Best burrowing over the line from close range.
Goode converted with ease to put the visitors nine points clear again, but the momentum turned when they lost full-back Chris Pennell to the sin-bin for holding down.
Sale closed the gap with a well-worked score for Gaskell and although Goode kicked a penalty two minutes into the second half, the Warriors again found themselves down to 14 when winger Nikki Walker was punished for a deliberate knock-on.
Cipriani kicked the resulting penalty and a further three points from his boot in the 54th minute put his team in front for the first time on the night.
That lead didn't last too long; Sale replacement Fraser McKenzie was sin-binned within a minute of his introduction for flattening Semisi Taulava, allowing Goode to knock over his fifth penalty and edge Worcester back in front.
However, Sale managed to find a crucial try when still a man light, Gray and Richie Vernon combining to send Cueto scampering over in the left corner. Cipriani landed a fine conversion to put Sale 27-22 in front, before two further penalties from the number 10 opened up a comfortable cushion.
In the end the Sharks needed those points, a scrappy late try in the right corner from replacement Matt Kvesic - which Goode failed to convert - meaning the Warriors had to settle for only a losing bonus point.
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com