SALE 33 CANTERBURY 14
It was one of those days when struggling Canterbury must have felt the world was against them. Before the match kicked off the back division had lost three first choice players to illness and injury. When it started two more players were quickly yellow carded and Ricky Mackintosh had followed Jack Rouse and Kyan Braithwaite to the sin bin by half time. Sale took full advantage as they ran up a 28-pojnt lead and killed the game as a contest.
Just how damaging those early dismissal were became clear when a full strength city side city side fought back in the second half and outscored Sale by two tries to one.
The had looked strong in the opening minutes until the home side’s strong running Number Eight Jarad Williams burst from a wheeled scrum deep in his own half to pile on the pressure. The Canterbury defence was giving nothing away but the referee was as he quickly reached for the cards and first Rouse then Braithwaite were judged to have made technical transgressions. What followed was almost inevitable as Sale collected four tries through Fergus Malone, Williams, Matt Bradley and Emilio Calle Rivas.
Chris Johnson converted the lot with some impressive goal kicking to bury Canterbury in an even deeper hole.
His only miss came after the break but by that time Canterbury were dominating possession and meaning business. They broke a solid Sale defence in the 47th minute, the back row doing the spade work and the backs finishing it with an Alex Meads try which Braithwaite converted from wide out. It was against the run of things when Sale scored their fifth try, Jake Pope making the touchdown from a great driving maul. Although the game was gone Canterbury continued to press and were rewarded with a Sam Rogers try try, topped up by Dan Smart, and in the late stages pinned the home side back by forcing a succession of penalties. However, yellow cards for Sale did not appear, reinforcing a feeling that this was never meant to be Canterbury’s day.
Canterbury: D.Corcoran, R.Mackintosh, A.Moss, W.Waddington (repl C.Grimes), JJ Murray, A.Meads, K.Braithwaite (repl D.Smart), B.Young, T.King, A.Wake-Smith (E.Lusher), R.Cadman, M.Corker, J.Stephens, (repl S.Rogers), S.Stapleton (repl T.Oliver), J.Rouse