Sale Sharks bite Leicester in Premiership opener

Leicester Tigers opened their Guinness Premiership title defence with a 15-12 defeat to Sale Sharks at Edgeley Park.

 

The hosts had an early opportunity to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty within Charlie Hodgson’s kicking range, but the fly-half missed the target.

 

His counterpart Jeremy Staunton didn’t make the same mistake as he opened the scoring with a penalty shortly afterwards.

 

Lee Thomas took over the kicking duties for Sale’s next penalty and slotted it to level matters at 3-3, before Hodgson stepped up again to convert the next one.

 

Thomas extended the Sharks’ lead to six points in the 31st minute, before Staunton’s boot made the score 9-6 before the break.

 

The tie remained try-less as Staunton brought the sides level at 9-9 with his third successful penalty of the night.

 

The kicking battle between Staunton and Thomas continued as the latter added six more points to Sale’s tally after 50 minutes of play.

 

The defending Guinness Premiership champions rang the changes on the hour-mark in an effort to change the momentum of the match, bringing on Mafin Davies, Ben Kay and Martin Castrogiovanni.

 

Staunton closed the gap to three points in the 70th minute, but missed a crucial kick with five minutes left to play as Sale held on to clinch a narrow three-point win.

 

Final Score Sale Sharks (9) 15 Leicester Tigers 12 (6)

 

Scorers

 

Sale Sharks
Tries –
Penalties – Thomas 5
Conversions –
Drop G –

 

Leicester Tigers
Tries –
Penalties – Staunton 4
Conversions –
Drop G –

 

Teams

 

Sale Sharks : Macleod, Cueto, Bell, Thomas, Cohen, Hodgson, Wigglesworth, Roberts, Jones, Forster, Jones, Schofield, Gaskell, Briggs, Koyamaibole

 

Replacements: Mahonri Schwalger, Gavin Kerr, Martin Halsall, David Tait, Luke Abrahams, Will Cliff, Mathew Tait, Andy Tuilagi

 

Leicester Tigers : G Murphy, Smith, Hipkiss, Allen, Hamilton, Staunton, Youngs, Ayerza, Chuter, Castrogiovanni, Blaze, Deacon, Newby, Woods, Crance

 

Replacements: Davies, Parr, Kay, Moody, Grindal, Twelvetrees, J Murphy

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