Premiership: Gloucester 23-19 Sale Sharks
|Gloucester (11) 23|
|Tries: Cook, Kalamafoni 2 Con: Laidlaw Pens: Twelvetrees 2|
|Sale Sharks (8) 19|
|Tries: Edwards 2 Pens: Cipriani 3|
|Relive Gloucester's victory over Sale Sharks|
Sione Kalamafoni scored two tries as Gloucester edged to victory over Sale.
Rob Cook's score inside two minutes was quickly cancelled out by Nev Edwards' try, before two Billy Twelvetrees penalties gave Gloucester a three-point half-time lead at Kingsholm.
Edwards, starting his first Premiership match, then edged Sharks ahead with a second try, but Kalamafoni crossed twice to restore the hosts' lead.
Danny Cipriani's penalty closed the gap to four points but Gloucester held on.
Both sides had endured inconsistent starts to the new season, winning two and losing three of their opening five Premiership matches prior to the contest.
But the Cherry and Whites, who boast the second best home record in Premiership history, were too strong for a Sharks side with only one win on the road in the last 12 months.
When winger Edwards crossed to put Steve Diamond's side ahead in the second half it looked as if Sale might register a third victory of the campaign.
But, with Gloucester hooker Richard Hibbard in the sin bin, Cipriani turned down an easy kick at goal to add to the visitors' score and instead headed for the corner.
Sale's gamble did not come off though and to add to their frustration Kalamafoni scored two tries in quick succession to re-establish Gloucester's control.
Cipriani did land a penalty from in front of the posts with 11 minutes left to keep Sale's hopes alive, but the home side closed the game out to lift themselves up to sixth in the Premiership table.
Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys:
"We are absolutely delighted with the win. The league table already shows that one or two wins take you up, and one or two losses take you down.
"It's a great league, it's tough, and we know how close the games are going to be. We are delighted to come away with a victory against what is a very good, well-organised Sale team.
"I thought we found that bit of a spark. We struggled over the last couple of Premiership games, but tonight was much better. We were able to get on the front foot, we played with some width and we showed some ambition.
"If you think back over the last 18 months, the one thing you can't fault in this team is character and hard work. They never give up."
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:
"We gave the ball away a bit too easily when we were in their 22, but credit to Gloucester, they didn't turn the ball over in the crucial stages.
"I thought Gloucester deserved the win tonight, but our last couple of games - the draw against Newcastle, and we should have beaten Harlequins away - you can't be nearly men all the time.
"We have just got to get the pressure situations sorted out in our team, kick our goals and kick field position when we get there.
"We know we are good with ball in hand - it's the basics that let us down. Even in the last three or four minutes, we knocked the ball on twice. If you can't convert your pressure into points, you get beaten."
Gloucester: Cook; Sharples, Meakes, Twelvetrees (capt), May; Hook, Heinz; McAllister, Hibbard, Afoa, Savage, Thrush, Moriarty, Kvesic, Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Trinder for Meakes (49), Laidlaw for Heinz (51), Wood for McAllister (49), Dawidiuk for Hibbard (56), Galarza for Savage (57), Rowan for Kalamafoni (65).
Not Used: N. Thomas, Purdy.
Sin Bin: Hibbard (44).
Sale: Haley; Edwards, James, Tuitupou, Addison; Cipriani, Stringer; Harrison, Taylor, Cobilas, Evans, Mills, Braid (capt), TJ Ioane, Beaumont.
Replacements: Cusiter for Stringer (65), Lewis-Roberts for Harrison (53), Briggs for Taylor (65), Mujati for V. Cobilas (54), Ostrikov for Mills (59), Seymour for Braid (53).
Not Used: Ford, Jennings.
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