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Sione Kalamafoni try double sees Gloucester beat Sale

Published 04/12/2015

Gloucester's Sione Kalamafoni scored two tries in the win over Sale
Gloucester's Sione Kalamafoni scored two tries in the win over Sale

Sione Kalamafoni scored two tries in five second half minutes at Kingsholm as Gloucester compounded Sale's poor Aviva Premiership away record.

Sale have not posted a league win on their travels since crushing London Welsh last February, and hopes of ending that sequence came to grief after number eight Kalamafoni's quickfire double strike edged Gloucester home 23-19.

Full-back Rob Cook also touched down for the home side, while skipper Billy Twelvetrees kicked two penalties and substitute scrum-half Greig Laidlaw added a conversion, leaving Sale to collect nothing more than a losing bonus point.

Sharks fly-half Danny Cipriani, who is among a host of players hoping to impress new England head coach Eddie Jones in the build-up to this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship, produced some exquisite touches, including some stunning approach work for Sale's opening try.

Wing Nev Edwards claimed both Sale touchdowns, while Cipriani slotted three penalties, yet Gloucester ultimately prevailed, claiming a third Premiership win from six starts this season.

Gloucester showed one change from the team beaten at Northampton seven days ago, with Kalamafoni replacing England number eight Ben Morgan, while Sale switched three of their line-up, meaning starts for Edwards, scrum-half Peter Stringer and back-row forward Josh Beaumont.

Sale, though, found themselves under immediate pressure after making a hash of the kick-off, and Gloucester wing Charlie Sharples almost claimed a try in the corner, but there was to be no escape for the visitors.

Gloucester patiently moved through the phases, and when Sale ran out of defensive numbers, Cook touched down for a try that Twelvetrees narrowly failed to convert from the touchline.

It was a confident start by the home team, but Sale hit back eight minutes later, drawing level through a piece of Cipriani magic.

Cipriani, who scored one try and created three others when Sale last visited Kingsholm 15 months ago, kicked brilliantly into space behind Gloucester's defence just outside the home 22, and Edwards caught the ball at full speed before finishing with a flourish for his first Premiership touchdown.

Cipriani then kicked Sale into a three-point lead, but Gloucester shaded enough of the territorial battle to edge 11-8 by half-time following a Twelvetrees penalty double that included one strike from just inside Sharks' half.

Sale tied things up within two minutes of the restart through a short-range Cipriani penalty, and Gloucester were temporarily reduced to 14 men shortly afterwards when their Wales international hooker Richard Hibbard was yellow-carded for pulling down a maul.

With the wind at their backs, Sale established a foothold in Gloucester's half, and even when the home side looked to relieve pressure, a poor kicking game meant that possession often went straight back into Sharks' hands.

And Gloucester could not hold out for much longer, with patient Sale phase play freeing space for full-back Mike Haley to attack, and an unmarked Edwards finished off, leaving Gloucester 16-11 adrift.

A touchline skirmish followed, sparked by Stringer and Gloucester's England wing Jonny May grappling their way into the advertising hoardings before at least a dozen players joined in, but referee JP Doyle decided that a penalty against Gloucester was sufficient punishment.

Gloucester then drew level with a 56th-minute Kalamafoni try, and before Sale could regroup, he struck again, with Laidlaw adding the conversion and opening up a seven-point advantage.

Cipriani completed his penalty hat-trick with 11 minutes left, yet that was as close as Sale got, and Gloucester possessed enough collective composure to wind down the clock and secure four important points.

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