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Aviva Premiership: Worcester suffer 24-12 home defeat against Sale
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Worcester's survival hopes took another massive blow after they suffered a fifth defeat at the hands of Sale this season with a 24-12 loss at Sixways Stadium.
This was a game the home side needed to win to give themselves hope of avoiding the drop, but Dean Ryan's side went down to a 15th consecutive Premiership defeat.
With their latest setback, Worcester remain 11 points behind Newcastle, who have a game in hand, and with only seven games remaining the mountain in front of them looks too high to scale.
Worcester could not recover from giving the opposition an early 11-point start, shaped by a Mark Cueto try and two penalties from Danny Cipriani.
The Warriors battled hard for the remainder of the half before falling away to concede a second-half try to Dan Braid, which was converted by Cipriani. The outside-half also added a penalty, as did replacement Nick Macleod.
Worcester captain Chris Pennell missed two kickable penalties in the first half which would have provided a much-needed boost as they failed to capitalise on their dominant second quarter.
They had all the play but lacked the confidence and creativity to cross the visitors' line and their failure to do so saw heads drop.
The despondency resulted in a lethargic third-quarter performance and Worcester's only rewards were two late consolation tries from Mariano Galarza.
Worcester started badly, conceding a penalty at the first ruck that enabled Cipriani to kick his side into an early lead.
Worse was to follow for the hosts as Sale extended that lead with a brilliant try. From inside his own half, David Seymour burst through the home defence.
Then former Warrior Sam Tuitupou and Eifion Lewis-Roberts both made telling contributions to create a simple try for Cueto, who was able to celebrate his 200th Premiership appearance in style.
Cipriani missed the conversion but sent over a penalty from halfway and with 13 minutes gone, Worcester were already up against it.
A half break from Jonny Arr was Worcester's first sign of attacking intent and they should have got on the scoreboard but skipper Pennell missed with two penalty attempts, which his side could ill-afford.
Pennell was given two further opportunities but declined to kick for goal in favour of attacking line-outs and Sale's defence held firm.
Sale suffered a blow when Dwayne Peel left the field with a leg injury to be replaced by Will Cliff as Worcester totally dominated the second quarter.
However they could not make the superiority count and Sale remained 11-0 in front at the interval.
Worcester brought on Ryan Lamb at half-time to make his debut but it was an inauspicious start for the outside-half as he booted his first touch straight over the in-goal area.
The error immediately surrendered the impetus to Sale who went further ahead when Cipriani kicked a simple penalty. Cipriani had another opportunity to kick a penalty but Sale chose a more attacking option as they realised the game was theirs.
Sale were rewarded when skipper Braid finished off a forward drive for the try which Cipriani converted, and the game was up for Worcester.
With 15 minutes to go, Worcester got on the score sheet when Galarza crashed over for a try. Macleod responded with a penalty before a further effort from Galarza converted by Lamb gave Warriors some respectability.Aviva Premiership. Click here to bet.
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com