Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Oh, Danny Joy for Sharks ; Cipriani Inspires Sale to Second Win of Season

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Oh, Danny Joy for Sharks ; Cipriani Inspires Sale to Second Win of Season

Article excerpt

again and after their pack laid siege to the Warriors' line, the SALE 33 WORCESTER 27 DANNY Cipriani delivered the perfect riposte to his Sale critics by producing a masterclass display to inspire the Sharks to a thrilling and potentially priceless win over Worcester in the Premiership.

A week after being dumped from the squad and publicly criticised by both owner Brian Kennedy and director of rugby John Mitchell, the former England fly-half marked his shock recall by inspiring Sale to only their second league win of the season.

Cipriani not only kicked 18 crucial points with the boot but put his body on the line with a series of brave tackles while his vision and eye for a pass helped keep Worcester on the back foot all night long.

Having outscored the visitors three tries to two, victory in what was a nerve-shredding encounter lifted Sale to within one point of nearest stragglers London Irish, who play league leaders Harlequins today.

Richie Gray, James Gaskell and Mark Cueto all touched down for the hosts, with Cueto's second-half effort drawing the former England and British Lions winger level with former Sharks colleague Steve Hanley as the Premiership's all-time record try scorer on 75.

But despite the relief at the vital victory, neither Mitchell - whose brief stay in Manchester could yet be curtailed even earlier than first thought - nor chief executive Steve Diamond were getting carried away with the result, though the Kiwi did grudgingly acknowledge the key role played by Cipriani.

"Danny played well and defensively he showed some improvement, which is what we asked him to do and which is the sign of a player wanting to improve," said Mitchell.

"It's about playing his role within the team and that was a very good team display and clearly for a guy of his class we need him to be at that level every week - not just one in three." Diamond, meanwhile, spelled out the task facing the Sale players going into the New Year as they battle to stay in the top flight.

"We're still bottom of the league but we are catching the 11th spot side and that's the target we've got," said the Sale supremo.

"We have to try and catch London Irish over the next four or five weeks.

"We're in no doubt we're in a dog fight until the end of the season and we're not going to pull ourselves free until the first week in May I think. …

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