Sale taught a lesson by the Students
The latest away trip saw the dogs travel to Loughborough University to play the bottom-of-the-table side in blustery but dry conditions.
In the early exchanges, both sides looked to play fast, attacking rugby but the game remained scoreless until the 11th minute when the returning Gaz Rawlings soared above everyone at a 5 metre lineout to set up an unstoppable driving maul – Ryan Parkinson touching down. 0-5
With the stiff breeze behind them, Sale were beginning to dominate territory and, from another deep lineout, the forwards rumbled towards the line with the ref awarding a penalty try milliseconds before the unfortunate Rhys Davies dived over. 0-12
Far from being disheartened by the score line, the hosts continued to run the ball at every opportunity and in the 23rd minute their enterprise was rewarded with a try out wide to reduce the arrears. 7-12
Five minutes later, the scores were level as the home side’s forwards made plenty of yards before pacey winger, Will Brown, evaded the defence to sprint in. 12-12
Errors began to creep into the blue and whites’ game and, in the 36th minute, the Students took the lead with a fine try finished off by their flying prop forward, Andrew Nathan-Boye – Sale losing Gaz Rawlings to a yellow card in the process for an off the ball incident.
The first 20 minutes of the 2nd half saw some scrappy play from both teams with neither side able to gain much momentum, but the hosts extended their advantage in the 63rd minute when they turned the ball over on Sale’s 22 and fed the ball to Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas to barge his way in. 26-12
The dogs looked to respond immediately as, following a good break from full-back, Robbie Povey, the forwards went through phase after phase near the hosts’ try line but the ranks of purple shirts stood firm, eventually turning the ball over and clearing their lines.
Any lingering hopes of a comeback were dashed in the 75th minute when Loughborough scored a 5th try through Cameron Jordan, with the vocal home support celebrating wildly. 33-12
With time ticking past the 80 minute mark, the blue and whites scored a consolation try as a 5 metre lineout, which had served them so well in the early stages of the match, was won for hooker, Christian Taylor, to cross the whitewash.
A frustrating day for the blue and whites with the hosts belying their lowly league status to take the spoils and drag Sale back towards the dog-fight at the bottom, enhancing their own survival chances in the process.