Hodgson central to Sale Sharks success

Whilst young pretenders like Danny Cipriani and Ryan Lamb have grabbed the headlines in recent weeks, two of England’s most consistent performers at number ten in Charlie Hodgson and Andy Goode go head-to-head in a titanic clash between Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers.

 

The match should also see All Black centres Luke McAlister and Aaron Mauger in direct opposition.

Opta stats show that Charlie Hodgson in particular has quietly but confidently been orchestrating a revival for the 2005/6 Guinness Premiership Champions.

Hodgson, who turned just 27 last month, has 29 caps for England, but missed out on selection for Rugby World Cup due to his continued rehabilitation from a serious knee injury suffered whilst playing for his country against South Africa this time last year.

This season, Hodgson has played all 540 minutes of rugby that make up the seven rounds of the Guinness Premiership so far this season and his side lie in a healthy sixth place, despite losing a number of players to Rugby World Cup. They also top European Challenge Cup pool four, with maximum points from all their four matches played.

Hodgson has been central to their success, providing the final assist for five of their 15 Guinness Premiership tries this season, the second best total of assists in the league.

The Opta stats also suggest a pragmatic side to the Yorkshireman’s game. In increasingly tough weather conditions, Hodgson has chosen to pin Sale’s opponents back deep in their own half.

 

Hodgson has kicked from hand 118 times, considerably more than any other player in the league and from those deep positions has dropped five goals, again more than any other player in the league.

All this has contributed to a Sale Sharks team that has made more metres in the league than any other.

Their opponents on Sunday are fourth placed Leicester Tigers who are a win and two points better off than their hosts.

Both sides have won their last two Guinness Premiership matches after both suffering defeat in round five; Sale Sharks to Gloucester Rugby and Leicester Tigers to Saracens.

The Guinness Premiership match between Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers is on Sunday 23rd December and kicks off at 2.45pm at Edgeley Park.

 

The match is also live on Sky Sports 2, with coverage starting at 2.30pm.

Stats.


Assists
1, Chris Malone, Harlequins, 7
2, Charlie Hodgson, Sale Sharks, 5
3, Shaun Berne, Bath Rugby, 4
3, Ryan Lamb, Gloucester Rugby, 4
3, Ryan Davis, Bath Rugby, 4

Kicks from hand
1, Charlie Hodgson, Sale Sharks, 118
2, Chris Malone, Harlequins, 96
3, Shaun Berne, Bath Rugby, 60
4, Andy Goode, Leicester Tigers, 59
5, Ryan Lamb, Gloucester Rugby, 58

Dropped goals converted
1, Charlie Hodgson, Sale Sharks, 5
2, Alberto Di Bernardo, Leeds Carnegie, 3
3, Chris Malone, Harlequins, 2
3, Glen Jackson, Saracens, 2

Rugbyweek.com

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