Friday 13 September 2013 – 8.00pm
Salford City Stadium, Salford
Aviva Premiership #2
The Falcons’ first away game back in the Premiership sees a meeting of two clubs that had very different starts to the season. Less than 24 hours after we were beaten 0-21 at home to Bath last Friday, Sale, relegation candidates for many, pulled off a stunning 16-22 victory at Gloucester.
Leading 3-14 at half-time, the Sharks held off the Cherry and Whites in the second half to get off to a brilliant start in the new season. Mark Cueto’s early TMO-given try was built on by a penalty from Nick MacLeod and two from new signing Tom Arscott in the first half, and though a Henry Trinder score and Freddie Burns’ boot made things tight in the second half, Andy Forsyth scored a second try for the Mancs and Joe Ford’s drop-goal sealed victory with ten minutes to go.
In 2012/13, the Sharks finished tenth in the Premiership table on 35 points, level with ninth-placed London Irish and two points above Worcester. They survived relegation by 12 points, with London Welsh only gaining 23. Tenth was a big disappointment for the faithful at the Salford City Stadium after sixth place in 2011/12.
Sale head coach Bryan Redpath, who has had a tricky time of things under controversial director of rugby Steve Diamond. Diamond’s squad does not contain a large number of stars, although one of the biggest names is Danny Cipriani, most recently seen at Kingston Park on Monday night when our reserves played Sale Jets. Mark Cueto, who so nearly scored in the 2007 World Cup Final for England, and former All Black and Worcester Warrior Sam Tuitupou are other stars in the Sharks’ employ, as is Welsh international scrum-half Dwayne Peel.
Unlike many other clubs, Sale do not have a large number of former Falcons, with Rob Miller being the name that will be most familiar to Geordie fans. Lock Josh Beaumont and winger Charlie Ingall are both former Falcons youth players and each played a handful of first team games in blue and white last season.
Although tomorrow night will be our first visit to the Salford City Stadium, the Falcons do not have a terrible record away to Sale compared to some other Premiership opponents.
Our most recent victory was the glorious evening in April 2010 that secured our Premiership safety that year. On that evening, Grant Shiells and Kieran Brookes both started their first Premiership matches and set the platform for an exciting and exhilarating 30-32 victory for the Falcons. Jimmy Gopperth and Micky Young both scored tries, while captain Gopperth converted both and added six penalties.
That was the latest of 14 wins we have away to Sale since the two clubs first met back in 1951, at the Sharks’ spiritual home of Heywood Road.
Falcons at Sale:
31/03/1951 Heywood Road Club Match L11-12
14/03/1953 Heywood Road Club Match L11-14
26/03/1955 Heywood Road Club Match L12-23
23/03/1957 Heywood Road Club Match L6-10
04/04/1959 Heywood Road Club Match L6-17
25/03/1961 Heywood Road Club Match L12-19
23/03/1963 Heywood Road Club Match W14-6
05/03/1966 Heywood Road Club Match W6-0
02/03/1968 Heywood Road Club Match L15-21
07/03/1970 Heywood Road Club Match L9-24
04/03/1972 Heywood Road Club Match W29-12
02/03/1974 Heywood Road Club Match W19-12
03/04/1976 Heywood Road John Player Cup SF W12-3
05/03/1977 Heywood Road Merit Table W19-6
03/03/1979 Heywood Road Merit Table D0-0
07/03/1981 Heywood Road Northern Merit Table W17-0
05/03/1983 Heywood Road Northern Merit Table L6-18
02/03/1985 Heywood Road Merit Table L6-21
07/03/1987 Heywood Road Northern Merit Table L6-7
11/03/1989 Heywood Road Courage League D2 L15-23
16/11/1991 Heywood Road Courage League D2 L15-19
05/03/1994 Heywood Road Club Match D16-16
20/01/1996 Heywood Road Club Match L12-50
18/10/1997 Heywood Road AD Premiership 1 W33-26
23/01/1999 Heywood Road AD Premiership 1 W28-20
06/05/2000 Heywood Road AD Premiership 1 L17-45
02/09/2000 Heywood Road Zurich Premiership W27-19
08/09/2001 Heywood Road Zurich Premiership L11-37
03/01/2003 Heywood Road Zurich Premiership L3-38
23/04/2004 Edgeley Park Zurich Premiership L16-41
05/11/2004 Edgeley Park Zurich Premiership L25-39
02/09/2005 Edgeley Park Guinness Premiership L25-26
29/09/2006 Edgeley Park EDF Energy Cup L5-28
17/11/2006 Edgeley Park Guinness Premiership W26-18
20/04/2008 Edgeley Park Guinness Premiership L10-53
06/03/2009 Edgeley Park Guinness Premiership W32-25
23/04/2010 Edgeley Park Guinness Premiership W32-30
03/09/2010 Edgeley Park Aviva Premiership L18-35
26/12/2011 Edgeley Park Aviva Premiership L19-27
Fraser McKenzie will take on his former club on his Falcons debut tomorrow night, partnering Scott MacLeod in the second row. Will Welch is back in place of Andy Saull and Adam Powell replaces Jamie Helleur. Matt Thompson and Oliver Tomaszczyk come into the front row.
Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 1 Franck Montanella, 2 Matt Thompson, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Dom Barrow, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg.
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 Kieran Brookes, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Carlo del Fava, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 James Fitzpatrick.
Sale include former Falcons Rob Miller and Josh Beaumont on the bench, but there is no place for Danny Cipriani after Monday’s reserve game at KP.
Sale: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil Mackenzie, 13 Mark Cueto, 12 Andy Forsyth, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts, 2 Marc Jones, 3 Henry Thomas, 4 Johnathan Mills, 5 Michael Paterson, 6 Dan Braid (c), 7 David Seymour, 8 James Gaskell.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Kirill Kulemin, 20 Josh Beaumont, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Rob Miller.
This might turn out to be an eight/ten-pointer come the end of the season with both teams having been tipped to be in the relegation battle, and the Falcons will not want to let a big gap open up to the Sharks, so it should be an interesting game.
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