Sale Sharks45


GLASGOW'S management admitted last night that this season had fallen victim to the need for change, after the previously free-scoring side were made to look impotent by English rugby's most exciting outfit.

How far the Scottish team still have to go was all too apparent as Sale celebrated their first win in the competition with six tries, inflicting Glasgow's heaviest defeat in the competition since Scotland's professionals went full-time five years ago.

Heading for the Heywood Road dressing rooms shaking his head, Gordon Macpherson, Glasgow's forwards coach, described it as ''a disgraceful, inept performance''. Steve Anderson, their backs coach, later tired to explain the problems the players are facing.

''We're embarking on a two- to three-year programme, so it was a little bit of 'don't fiddle with what's not wrong', yet we fiddled with it,'' he said. ''I wouldn't say we've sacrificed games, but it is a long-term programme.''

Just months into it, though, Anderson is set for a move to a new job at Murrayfield. Since that is with the national side, he insisted that, even if he goes, he will still has a vested interest in these current development programmes.

Enormous effort will be required to bridge the gulf between these sides when it came to the most basic function in the game, getting over the try-line. Glasgow had made one of their better starts, stretching Sale's defence early on as Stuart Moffat made a powerful run down the left before play was switched right, where Jonny Petrie attempted to force his way through, but they had to settle for a Tommy Hayes penalty to get them on the scoreboard.

They had the bulk of the game in the opening quarter, too, yet all the good work was undone when they gifted the home side their first points. Hayes was the first offender, knocking on when he should have prevented a Hodgson touch-finder from crossing the line.

From the resultant scrum on the 22, Glasgow repelled the first attack but, when the ball was recycled, Mark Cueto was allowed to slice through the midfield far too easily, Henderson appearing to miss the initial tackle before Hayes failed with his cover attempt.

Shortly after that, fellow winger Steve Hanley went in after Glasgow fell for a double bluff as Sale overloaded the narrow blind-side with four backs, but with Jason Robinson on the open-side.

Glasgow were clearly loath to offer the quicksilver England full back too much running room but they were in two minds as to how to line up defensively and Redpath went to the blind-side, where Hodgson fired the double miss pass to Hanley to let him outstrip the defence on the left touchline, Hayes again sliding off his man as he attempted to cover.

When Petrie was sin-binned moments later for killing the ball midway inside his own half and Hodgson knocked over the penalty, Glasgow were in desperate trouble, but they managed to hold out for the remainder of their No.8's 10-minute absence.

Glasgow were presented with their chance to play with an extra man when Dean Schofield was sent to the bin for a similar offence to Petrie's but, either side of the break, they could not capitalise and Schofield's return helped to seal the outcome.

His barging run midway inside opposition territory pressurised the defence and, when he off-loaded, it was Robinson who was on the receiving end to weave his way past three men before clawing his way to the line through Moffat's tackle.

Glasgow were in disarray and Andy Titterrell burst through on the left to score Sale's fourth try, the panache with which the Sale hooker finished summing up the difference between the sides.

Sale sat back on their lead, soaked up Glasgow's attempts to attack, then, once they had exhausted themselves, counter-attacked magnificently. After Cueto rounded Moffat on the right touchline they did look to have made a mess of things, but recycled the ball before replacement Vaughan Going raced on to Hodgson's delicately-weighted chip to touch down wide on the left.

They finished as they had begun, a lineout drive taking them close before the ball was given to the backs. This time Hodgson slipped through the defence and under the posts, before converting to complete a personal 20-point haul.

Sale J Robinson; M Cueto, M Deane, G Bond (J Baxendell 54), S Hanley (V Going 68); C Hodgson, B Redpath; J Thorp, A Titterrell (C Marais 59), B Stewart (S Turner 58), I Fullarton, D Schofield, P Anglesea (C Jones 54), R Wilks (A Perelini 67), A Sanderson

Glasgow G Metcalfe (R Reid 52); J Steel, A Bulloch, A Henderson (C Howarth 78), S Moffat; T Hayes, G Beveridge (A Nicol 58); D Hilton (C Blades 56), G Bulloch, L Harrison, A Hall, J White (N Ross 67), A Wilson, D Macfadyen, J Petrie (G Simpson 56)

Scoring sequence (Sale first): 0-3, 7-3, 14-3, 17-3 (half-time); 24-3, 31-3, 38-3, 45-3

Scorers. Sale. Tries Cueto (18), Hanley (22), Robinson (45), Titterrell (50), Going (72), Hodgson (80) Cons Hodgson (18, 22, 45, 50, 72, 80) Pens Hodgson (25)

Glasgow. Pen Hayes (3)

Referee H Watkins (Wales)