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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 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
|Saturday 4th October|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Welsh|
|15:00||London Irish vs Northampton|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Leicester|
|Sunday 5th October|
|14:00||Sale vs Wasps|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Exeter|
|Friday 10th October|
|19:45||Leicester vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 11th October|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Saracens vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Irish|
|15:15||Northampton vs Sale|
|Sunday 12th October|
|14:00||Wasps vs Bath|
|Friday 14th November|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|19:45||Northampton vs Exeter|
|Saturday 15th November|
|14:00||Sale vs London Irish|
|17:00||Bath vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 16th November|
|13:00||Leicester vs Saracens|
|15:15||Wasps vs London Welsh|
|Friday 21st November|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Sale|
|20:00||Newcastle vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|15:00||London Irish vs Bath|
|15:00||Exeter vs Wasps|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|13:00||Saracens vs Northampton|
|15:15||London Welsh vs Leicester|
|Friday 28th November|
|19:45||Bath vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 28th September|
|Wasps 35 - 18 Newcastle|
|Exeter 36 - 13 Harlequins|
|Saturday 27th September|
|Northampton 31 - 24 Bath|
|Leicester 19 - 22 London Irish|
|Saracens 40 - 19 Sale Sharks|
|Friday 26th September|
|London Welsh 10 - 46 Gloucester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|Newcastle 10 - 35 Northampton|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Bath 45 - 0 Leicester|
|Harlequins 26 - 23 Wasps|
|London Irish 32 - 36 Saracens|
|Sale 46 - 8 London Welsh|
|Friday 19th September|
|Gloucester 22 - 25 Exeter|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Newcastle 18 - 20 London Irish|
|Wasps 20 - 16 Northampton|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Exeter 20 - 24 Leicester|
|Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale Sharks|
|Bath 53 - 26 London Welsh|
|Friday 12th September|
|Harlequins 0 - 39 Saracens|
|Sunday 7th September|
|London Welsh 0 - 52 Exeter|
|Saturday 6th September|
|London Irish 15 - 20 Harlequins|
|Leicester 36 - 17 Newcastle|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 29 Bath|
|Saracens 34 - 28 Wasps|
|Friday 5th September|
|Northampton 53 - 6 Gloucester|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com