Late try for Josh Beaumont seals Sale’s laborious comeback victory at Gloucester

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Gloucester 19-22 SaleBeaumont marks his return after a 14-month injury layoff with a decisive attempt

With the decisive attempt two minutes from time, Josh Beaumont celebrated his return from a 14-month injury layoff to hand Sale their first victory since Steve Diamond’s departure.

Beaumont, who had not played for the Sharks because of a long-term knee injury since November 2019, came off the bench to score the winning attempt, stretching to score late on over a pile of bodies.

It was a sight to warm Sale’s hearts – especially interim head coach Paul Deacon, who was finally able to celebrate the victory. As demonstrated by the clash in the final minute that resulted in a yellow card for Billy Twelvetrees for colliding with one of Sale’s water carriers, it was a heated struggle that was tense in the second half. With Sale’s back-rower in doubt, Gloucester head coach George Skivington was unimpressed, preventing Twelvetrees from getting to the ball to take a fast lineout, after which the center was sent to the penalty box for taking matters into his own hands. This led to a war that could have more repercussions between the two players. The same was true of the tackle against Chris Harris by Daniel du Preez with five minutes left, with the Gloucester player needing an HIA.

That made Skivington as unhappy as he was about a late scrum decision against his side. “I thought the scrum decision was a disgrace,”I thought that the scrum decision was a disgrace. And I don’t know where the TMO is for Chris Harris to be sent off to HIA because he didn’t have a shoulder on the back of his head.

That should have been penalized, in my view.

“And then their ball boy takes the ball away from Billy to avoid a quick throw – I think that’s a bad end to what was a good contest. “James Gaskell’s double sets Wasps on course to inflict the first loss of ExeterRead moreJust as Sale is still adapting to the departure of Diamond, after the departure of one of Danny Cipriani’s most prominent figures, so too must Gloucester. The new year has yet to bring a fresh start for either side, but this was a hard-fought victory for the visitors after three losses under Deacon. Meanwhile, after Worcester was given four points following a Covid 19 outburst at Harlequins that led to the game being called off, Gloucester was at the bottom of the table.

In other words, it explains why the relegation battle of the Premier League – or at least preventing relegation this season – is becoming a priority for clubs more and more. There are still 17 rounds to play, but the location of Gloucester is troubling given the effect of Covid’s cancellations on the table. Gloucester began with number 10 before the former kicked the ball for a corner and a mass of Cherry & Whites drove across the line, Fraser Balmain scoring the attempt, Will Evans and Alan MacGinty gifting each other a penalty.

Immediately after the restart, Sale added another penalty by MacGinty, but Gloucester pushed hard when Captain Jono Ross of the visitors was sent to the penalty box just before half-time for an armless tackle on Val Rapava-Ruskin. The attempt by Louis Rees-Zammit came from a lineout on the left with Stephen Varney whipping the ball to Evans. It was straight out of the Cipriani playbook, the pacing of his pass and the way it slid perfectly behind Sam James and into the hands of Harris, and there was no stopping him once Rees-Zammit had possession. Paul Deacon enjoys the change of focus as he settles into his position at SaleRead moreEvans kicked another penalty to give Gloucester a lead of 16-6, but with a well-taken kick from the right, MacGinty cut the gap down to seven.

MacGinty converted penalty kicks number four and five soon after the restart – the second of which came when Gloucester captain Lewis Ludlow was in the penalty box – before Evans responded.

However, Beaumont had the last word: “It’s fantastic, a fairytale I suppose,” said Deacon. [It] takes a long time to be injured in the life of a rugby player, but the celebrations have shown the family what it means.

It’s wonderful for Josh and fantastic that he can play again.

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