Updated: 14/10/2012 22:55 | By pa.press.net

Cipriani gives Sale much-needed win



Danny Cipriani, fourth from left, is congratulated after scoring a try

Danny Cipriani, fourth from left, is congratulated after scoring a try

Danny Cipriani was Sale's hero as the Premiership strugglers overturned a 27-12 deficit to gain a dramatic, morale-boosting 34-33 triumph over Cardiff on their return to the Heineken Cup.

The Sharks were trailing by 15 points when Cipriani, making his way back from injury and illness, was introduced from the bench after 49 minutes and he scored one try and created another as Bryan Redpath's men went on to snatch a breathless victory.

Sale gained a 27-26 win over the Blues in their last Heineken Cup campaign at Edgeley Park three years ago and Redpath will be hoping Sunday's repeat victory - their first at the new Salford City Stadium - will kick-start their season after opening with six straight defeats.

Cardiff, who played all but five minutes of the match without Sam Warburton due to injury, were leading 30-24 when they were reduced to 14 men with the sin-binning of replacement Lewis Jones seven minutes from the end. And the extra man advantage proved crucial as prop Tony Buckley was driven over for the match-winning try a minute later, although the Sharks were hanging on in the end after Leigh Halfpenny's seventh goal cut the gap to a solitary point.

The outcome was tough on Wales winger Alex Cuthbert, whose first-half hat-trick of tries looked to have put his side on their way to victory. The Blues, who went into the game on the back of consecutive defeats in the RaboDirect PRO12, suffered an early blow Warburton went off after just five minutes with a dislocated finger.

Back rower Richie Vernon and Andy Powell were prominent as the home side established early territorial dominance but full-back Rob Miller fumbled centre Will Addison's pass with the line at his mercy while debutant right winger Mark Jennings failed to make the most of a touchline dash.

But after Halfpenny and Nick Macleod traded penalties, Sale quickly fell 17-3 behind as Cuthbert ran in two tries in a three-minute spell. Two further penalties from Macleod kept the home side in touch but Cardiff hooker Marc Breeze punished their latest handling error by cutting a swathe through their fragile defence to get Cuthbert over for his hat-trick try on 36 minutes.

Macleod's fourth penalty on the stroke of half-time made it 24-12, but Halfpenny landed another long-range effort five minutes into the second half to restore his side's 15-point lead. That was the signal for Redpath to send on Cipriani in a bid to revive their fortunes and within six minutes he had scored his first try for the club, taking a return pass from Addison.

That cut the deficit to 10 points but Miller, taking over the goalkicking duties, was wide with the conversion attempt and Halfpenny demonstrated precision to land another long-range penalty to keep his side in the driving seat. But when Cipriani's long pass was gathered by replacement centre Johnny Leota, he got Jennings over for a debut try and Miller's first goal of the afternoon cut the gap to six points.

Then came the sin-binning of Jones and Sale grabbed their opportunity to produce a storming finish, much to the delight of the 5,853 crowd.

0Comments
10 reasons to make MSN UK your homepage (© Microsoft)

latest rugby news

  • South Africa were victorious at Ibrox

    New Zealand's incredible 30-game unbeaten streak at the Commonwealth Games was brought to a crashing halt as South Africa claimed a surprise gold medal success.

  • Fans have thronged to Ibrox for two days of rugby sevens competition at the Commonwealth Games.

    "The crowd loves us because we are the last kings of Scotland," grandly proclaimed Ugandan head coach Tolbert Onyango as the Ibrox stands tumbled with chants of support for his intrepid Rugby Cranes.

  • Scotland fans celebrate a try against New Zealand

    Scotland soaked up a football-crowd atmosphere as they stormed their way past Canada and into the Commonwealth Games rugby sevens quarter-finals in front of a packed out Ibrox.

  • Michael Cheika's men are through to the final

    The Waratahs booked their place in the Super Rugby final with victory over the Brumbies in Sydney.

  • Kieran Read scored the first try

    The Crusaders stormed into the Super Rugby final with a five-try demolition of the Sharks in Christchurch.

  • Colin Shaw is eager to please the home crowd

    Scotland Sevens player Colin Shaw is aiming to cap a once-in-a-lifetime experience of playing in a home Commonwealth Games with a medal.

  • Exeter begin their LV= Cup defence against Newport Gwent Dragons

    Exeter will open their defence of the LV= Cup next season with a trip to Wales.

  • Gareth Anscombe will hope to impress Wales head coach Warren Gatland, pictured,

    Cardiff Blues have announced the signing of Gareth Anscombe from Waikato Chiefs in New Zealand.

  • Gregor Townsend, pictured, has added Rossouw de Klerk to his Glasgow Warriors squad for next season

    Glasgow Warriors will complete the signing of South African prop Rossouw de Klerk from Super 15 side the Cheetahs subject to a visa and medical, the club has announced.

  • London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell, pictured, has added James Down to his squad

    London Welsh have announced the signing of Cardiff Blues lock James Down.

  • Team Wales attache Ryan Jones, right, believes rugby sevens is due for a huge surge in popularity around the world

    Former Wales captain Ryan Jones believes rugby sevens is ready to touch new heights through its exposure at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

  • England's Tom Mitchell is hoping to claim the scalp of the All Blacks in the Glasgow 2014 Rugby 7s

    England rugby sevens captain Tom Mitchell believes the odds are in his side's favour as they bid to dethrone the All Blacks and claim their first Commonwealth gold.

  • Magnus Lund has signed for Aviva Premiership club Sale Sharks following six years with Biarritz

    Sale Sharks have announced the signing of former England flanker Magnus Lund.

  • Aurelien Rougerie was one of three Clermont Auvergne players attacked by an armed gang on Sunday morning

    Three Clermont Auvergne players have been hospitalised after being attacked with machetes and swords as they walked back to their hotel early on Sunday morning, the French club have announced.

  • Francois Steyn's place kicking proved the difference as the Sharks beat the Highlanders

    Accurate kicking from Francois Steyn helped the Sharks subdue a spirited Highlanders fightback to secure a Super Rugby semi-final against the Crusaders.