Josh Beaumont marked his return from a 14-month injury hiatus with a pivotal attempt to welcome Sale two minutes before the end of his first win since Steve Diamond’s departure. Beaumont has been out of sight for the Sharks since November 2019 due to a long-term knee problem, but he got off the bench to provide crucial intervention and stretched over a pile of bodies to score late. It was a sight to warm Sale’s hearts – no more than that of interim head coach Paul Deacon, who finally got a win for his name.
It was a fiery competition that was terribly tense in the second half. This is evidenced by the fight that broke out at the last minute and resulted in a yellow card for Billy Twelvetrees for colliding with a Sale water carrier. Gloucester head coach George Skivington was unimpressed by the agent in question in Sale’s back room for preventing Twelvetrees from getting to the ball for a quick lineup. The center was sent into sin to take matters into its own hands. This sparked a hand-to-hand combat between the two players that could have further ramifications, and the same goes for Daniel du Preez’s tackle against Chris Harris five minutes from time when the Gloucester player needed an HIA. Skivington was equally unhappy about this, as was a late scrum call against his side.
« I thought the Scrum decision was a shame, » said Skivington. « And Chris Harris gets picked up for an HIA if he has a shoulder free shoulder in mind. I don’t know where the TMO is. In my opinion that should have been done. And then her ball boy Billy takes the ball off a quick throw. I think that’s a bad ending to a game that was good competition. ”
Just as Sale is still getting used to Diamond’s departure, Gloucester is also adapting after the departure of one of her most influential characters in Danny Cipriani. The new year has not brought a new start for either side, but after three previous defeats under Deacon, this was a hard-fought victory for the visitors.
Gloucester, meanwhile, is at the bottom of the table after Worcester scored four points after a Covid-19 outbreak in Harlequins that led to the game being canceled. In other words, it shows why Premier League ring fencing – or at least relegation this season – is quickly becoming high on the club agenda. There are still 17 rounds to play but Gloucester’s position will create some concern as Covid’s cancellations have such an impact on league placement.
Gloucester started with No.. 10, Will Evans and Alan MacGinty exchanged penalty kicks before the former stepped into the corner and drove a crowd of Cherry & Whites past, with Fraser Balmain getting the try. Sale took another penalty immediately after MacGinty restarted, but Gloucester stepped on the pedal when visiting skipper Jono Ross was sent into sin shortly before half an hour for a duel against Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Louis Rees-Zammit’s attempt came from a lineout on the left with the ball whipped by Stephen Varney at Evans. The timing of his pass and the way it slipped perfectly behind Sam James and into Harris’ hands was straight out of the Cipriani game book, and once Rees-Zammit had the ball, nothing could stop him.
Evans kicked another penalty to give Gloucester a 16-6 lead, but MacGinty cut the deficit back to seven with a good shot from the right. Shortly after the restart, MacGinty scored the number four and five penalties – the second with Gloucester’s captain Lewis Ludlow in sin – before Evans responded. Beaumont had the final say, however.
« It’s fantastic, a fairy tale, I suppose, » said Deacon. “[It’s] a long time in a rugby player’s life to be injured, but the celebrations have shown what he means to the team. It’s great for Josh and great to let him play again. ”
Gloucester Rugby, Sale Sharks, Premiership Rugby, Billy Twelvetrees, Rugby Union, Josh Beaumont
World News – AU – Josh Beaumont’s late attempt seals Sale’s scratchy comeback win in Gloucester
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