Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks virtually safe after beating Gloucester
Last Updated: 13/04/13 7:35am
Johnny Leota dives over for the opening try
Dwayne Peel scored two tries as Sale Sharks all but secured their Aviva Premiership survival with a dominant 32-9 bonus-point victory over Gloucester.
Johnny Leota, Peel and Cameron Shepherd all went over for Sale in the first half as they took a 22-6 lead into half-time.
Freddie Burns responded for the Cherry and Whites with two penalties before the break and added another in the second period.
But the hosts' scrum-half and Mark Cueto crossed the whitewash late on to move the Sharks above London Irish into 10th and dent Gloucester's play-off hopes in the process.
Only 56 seconds had elapsed when Leota touched down in the left-hand corner after Dan Robson's clearance was changed down by the Sharks' outside centre.
Burns did reduce the arrears almost immediately before another mistake - this time from full-back Rob Cook - saw Peel go over. Nick Macleod added the conversion and the Sharks led 12-3.
Gloucester's England international stand-off deservedly took them to within seven points through a penalty, but almost immediately the Cherry and Whites infringed at the scrum and Macleod duly extended the home advantage.
Sale's third try provided the perfect example of the hosts' attacking verve when a well-constructed move sent Shepherd through a hole and the former Australian international rounded Cook and touched down.
It was Gloucester who were first to register after the break when Burns kicked a penalty from their first sustained passage of play.
However, Sale continued to control proceedings and the pressure eventually told when Dave Lewis was sin-binned for a cynical infringement.
That allowed Peel to snipe around the fringes and go over to effectively secure the Sharks' place in next year's Premiership, before Cueto rounded off an outstanding performance with a last-minute score.
Aviva Premiership 2012/13 Round 20
Mark McCall slammed Josh Matavesi for his 'horrendous' challenge on Neil de Kock during Saracens' win over Worcester.
Saracens secured a home semi-final in the Aviva Premiership play-offs with a 47-17 bonus-point win over Worcester.
London Welsh will finish bottom of the Aviva Premiership after losing 31-14 to Northampton Saints.