Sale send message as Irish tamed

MARTIN JOHNSON watched on as Sale edged a ferocious encounter against Guinness Premiership leaders London Irish thanks to a try created and scored by three players hoping to catch the eye of the England manager.

Irish led 8-6 at the break at a bitterly cold Edgeley Park but excellent work from discarded fly-half Charlie Hodgson and replacement Mathew Tait allowed forgotten wing Mark Cueto to scamper clear in the 57th minute.

It was another reminder to Johnson and his coaching team of Cueto’s quality, his fourth try in his last three games continuing a recent renaissance after his desperate struggle for form and fitness in the aftermath of the 2007 World Cup.

Hodgson also put himself in the frame for an international recall with the RBS 6 Nations on the horizon after helping secure arguably Sale’s finest victory of the season.

Cueto and Irish replacement David Paice were sinbinned for their part in a melee which erupted as Sale celebrated the try, but for Irish there was no way back and a losing bonus point was their only consolation.

Sale scorers: Tries, Cueto; Pens, Hodgson 2; Drop Goals, Hodgson.

London Irish: Tries, Ojo. Pens, Geraghty.

SALE: Cueto; Bell, Tuilagi, McAlister, Doherty; Hodgson, Peel; Faure, M Jones, Roberts; Chabal, Schofield; C Jones, Briggs, Fernandez Lobbe.

Replacements: Abraham for M Jones (41), M Tait for Tuilagi (50), Cockbain for Schofield (55), Sheridan for Faure (59), Wigglesworth for Peel (77).

LONDON IRISH: Hewat; Ojo, Seveali’i, Mapusua, Homer; Geraghty, Hodgson; Dermody, Coetzee, Lea’aetoa; Hudson, Casey; Danaher, S Armitage, Hala’ufia.

Replacements: Corbisiero for Lea’aetoa, Roche for Hudson (53), Johnson for Corbisiero (60), Thorpe for Danaher (70), Catt for Seveali’i (71).

Referee: Andrew Small (RFU).

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