Sale 27-19 Newcastle

Sale congratulate Mark Cueto on his try
Cueto's match-winner was rapturously received by his team-mates

Sale withstood a Newcastle fightback to go third in the Premiership.

Tom Brady scored a scorching early converted try for the hosts and Nick Macleod added four penalties to help them into a 19-3 lead.

Jeremy Manning's converted try gave bottom side Newcastle hope at half-time and two Jimmy Gopperth penalties cut the gap to just 19-16 after an hour.

But Mark Cueto went over for Sale and a late penalty apiece made no difference to the result.

The Sharks have arguably been the Premiership's surprise package this season.

They have been playing with pace and ambition and they carried on in the same vein on Boxing Day, taking the lead with a superb try.

After receiving a pass from scrum-half Dwayne Peel, winger Brady broke the gainline before darting 60m to score.

Macleod added the extras and then landed three penalties as Sale threatened to run up a cricket score.

But Gopperth traded penalties with Macleod and Newcastle hauled themselves back into the game as Manning barrelled through three would-be tacklers to score in the corner.

Although Gopperth scuffed the conversion, it managed to sneak between the uprights, and two more penalties reduced the gap to only three points with an hour played.

However, naivety from Newcastle on their own put-in at the scrum saw Sale steal the ball and Cueto showed excellent footballing skills to touch down.

Gopperth reduced the arrears with a penalty, but Macleod added another to seal the win and leave Newcastle looking, even at this stage of the season, headed for relegation.


Sale Sharks director of sport Steve Diamond told BBC Radio Manchester:

"We played well in the first-half, potentially could blow them away really, but fair play we managed to weather the storm and finish strongly.

"The team are trying to play rugby, we're embryonic still, but we've seen in flashes what we can do.

"We've got a bit of a zoo in there and controlling them sometimes is difficult, so get the concentration up and we're a hard side to beat.


Sale: Miller; Brady, Leota, Tuitupou, Cueto; MacLeod, Peel; Dickinson, Jones, Thomas, McKenzie, Ostrikov, Gaskell, Seymour, Powell.

Replacements: Willis for Peel (66), Titterrell for Jones (78), Buckley for Thomas (63), Easter for McKenzie (78), Myall for Ostrikov (63).

Not Used: Cobilas, Higgins, Addison.

Newcastle: Goosen; Eves, Uys, Fitzpatrick, Hufanga; Gopperth, Pasqualin; Shiells, Vickers, Murray, Hudson, Swinson, Tu'ifua, Welch, Hogg.

Replacements: Manning for Uys (4), van der Heijden for Pasqualin (70), Wells for Shiells (66), Graham for Vickers (57), Pilgrim for Hudson (70), Fondse for Swinson (57), R. Mayhew for Tu'ifua (45).

Not Used: Frazier.

Att: 9,045

Ref: Dave Pearson (RFU).