Jones chuffed with back-up flyhalf Thomas

Lee Thomas has emerged as one of Sale Sharks’ best signings after his display at fly-half which kept the Guinness Premiership side unbeaten on Sunday.

The Welsh centre was brought in at number 10 for in the injured Charlie Hodgson and produced an assured display, as well as contributing 11 points with the boot to help secure a 16-16 draw at a windswept Kingston Park.

When he wasn’t scoring with the boot he put in a chip which helped set up Mark Cueto for a superb first-half try.

Thomas assumed the kicking responsibilities from Sale’s opening 15-12 win over Leicester Tigers a week ago which means that after two matches he heads the club’s scoring charts with a 26 point haul to date whilst, astonishingly, Hodgson has yet to trouble the scorers.

The Former England fly-half Hodgson who missed the trip to Kingston Park with a toe injury looks set to return for Friday’s Edgeley Park encounter with Bath but now Sale Sharks‘ director of rugby Kingsley Jones now knows he has a more than able deputy to call upon should the need arise.

“To have Lee Thomas at 10 was one of the big bonuses from the Newcastle game,” Jones admitted.

“We came away from Kingston Park still unbeaten and I thought Lee did a great job stepping in for Charlie.” he told the Manchester Evening News.

“Obviously Charlie is a very important player for us but it’s such a positive to have Lee as an option to step in at fly-half if needed.

“There have been a lot of question marks about what would happen if we were to lose Charlie for whatever reason. Well, we lost Charlie at the weekend and Lee stepped up and did really well.

“It’s such a boost to know that he can step in at number 10 and play well there for the full 80 minutes.”

Jones was also upbeat following a solid debut display by new Fijian full-back Marika Vakacegu who arrived at Edgeley Park in the summer from Guinness Championship side Cornish Pirates.

“I thought Marika did well. He was solid enough; he caught a few high balls and he produced an excellent try-saving tackle in the second-half.”

“He did nothing flash and I thought he performed well and I told him it was a great start for him,” Jones added.

“Kingston Park is not the easiest place to make your debut, particularly as a full-back, so I was pleased for him.

“We’ll have a few bumps and bruises from the game but hopefully nothing too much serious to report and the nice thing it means I have got plenty of options in terms of selection for Friday’s game at home to Bath.”

British and Irish Lions scrum half Dwayne Peel looks set to be on the sidelines for a while longer.

Jones had been hoping to welcome Peel back this week following minor surgery on a groin complaint but the 27-year-old has suffered a slight setback in his recovery and could be out for up to another three weeks.

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