Result: Sale 15-22 Worcester

Worcester fly-half Shane Drahm scored 17 points as the relegation-threatened Warriors recorded only their second Guinness Premiership win of the season.


Drahm outshone England hopeful Charlie Hodgson, landing four penalties, a conversion and a smart drop goal, as Sale suffered their first home loss.

Kai Horstmann scored the only try of the game early on after collecting Drahm’s cross-field kick.

And Drahm’s superb kicking stopped Sale from moving up to second in the table.

A second league win of the season against Worcester would have seen them leapfrog Bath and Leicester.

But it was not to be as a strong Sale side, including England stars Andrew Sheridan, Richard Wigglesworth and Mark Cueto, failed to sparkle without their injured talisman, New Zealander Luke McAlister.

Strugglers Worcester, who last won in January against Bristol, got off to a bad start, conceding an early penalty, with Sale number 10 Hodgson defying the weather to land the three points.

Hodgson, who again handed England boss Brian Ashton a timely reminder, was the catalyst for the Sharks’ next foray, taking advantage of a Sam Tuitupou error but his hack downfield bounced out.

Shane Drahm

An inspired Drahm sends over an excellent drop goal

Sale’s lead did not last long as Worcester skipper Drahm made an excellent break from his own 22, sidestepping the Sale pack and sprinting deep into enemy territory, before passing to Miles Benjamin who was smothered by Hodgson.

Worcester immediately regained possession and from a Drahm cross-field kick, wing Marcel Garvey challenged and Horstmann was on hand to dive over in the corner.

The ever-reliable Hodgson reduced the deficit with another penalty kick but Drahm soon made it advantage Worcester with a drop goal.

Sale’s forwards hit back with a period of consistent pressure and with referee Wayne Barnes indicating a penalty, Hodgson took advantage to land a much-needed drop goal.

Drahm restored Worcester’s advantage with another penalty just before the break as the Warriors took control.

Early in the second half, Drahm maintained his 100% kicking record with another penalty before Hodgson kept Sale in touch with an effort of his own.

Wigglesworth’s introduction after 55 minutes received the biggest cheer of the night as the newly-appointed England star looked to inspire Sale.

The Sharks’ attack was becoming static as they battled both Worcester’s stubborn defence and the elements and they clearly missed McAlister.

Hodgson kept the scoreboard ticking with another penalty to keep them within a point of the visitors but the in-form Drahm responded with another Worcester penalty.

Wigglesworth lifted Sale as he took control and almost masterminded a try – his quick break from a scrum saw Hodgson offload to Chris Bell but he could only knock on.

Drahm added another penalty to extend the Warriors’ lead on 76 minutes as Worcester sneaked home.

  • Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint Andre:
    “The conditions were very difficult and Worcester were very clinical while we made a lot of mistakes.”We need to put it right. We just made too many mistakes and dropped the ball 10-12 times – conditions were very difficult for the backs.

    “We were in control but we were penalised a lot more than Worcester.”

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