Rugby Union

David Humphreys praises battling Gloucester after win over Sale

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Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys praised a battling performance by his players after they secured a hard-fought Aviva Premiership victory over Kingsholm visitors Sale Sharks.

Sione Kalamafoni scored two tries in five second half minutes as Gloucester compounded Sale's poor Premiership away record.

Sale have not posted a league win on their travels since crushing London Welsh last February, and hopes of ending that sequence came to grief after number eight Kalamafoni's quickfire double strike edged Gloucester home 23-19.

"We are absolutely delighted with the win," Humphreys said.

"The league table already shows that one or two wins take you up, and one or two losses take you down.

"It's a great league, it's tough, and we know how close the games are going to be. We are delighted to come away with a victory against what is a very good, well-organised Sale team.

"I thought we found that bit of a spark. We struggled over the last couple of Premiership games, but tonight was much better. We were able to get on the front foot, we played with some width and we showed some ambition.

"If you think back over the last 18 months, the one thing you can't fault in this team is character and hard work. They never give up.

"We know we have a lot of work to do rugby-wise, but in the second half I thought we showed enough with the ball, but also we had that energy in defence.

"For us, it was about coming here tonight and performing, but ultimately, winning."

Full-back Rob Cook also touched down for the home side, while skipper Billy Twelvetrees kicked two penalties and substitute scrum-half Greig Laidlaw added a conversion, leaving Sale to collect nothing more than a losing bonus point.

Sharks fly-half Danny Cipriani, who is among a host of players hoping to impress new England head coach Eddie Jones in the build-up to this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship, produced occasional exquisite touches, including some stunning approach work for Sale's opening try.

Wing Nev Edwards claimed both Sale touchdowns, while Cipriani slotted three penalties, yet Gloucester ultimately prevailed, claiming a third Premiership win from six starts this season.

Sale rugby director Steve Diamond said: "We gave the ball away a bit too easily when we were in their 22, but credit to Gloucester, they didn't turn the ball over in the crucial stages.

"I thought Gloucester deserved the win tonight, but our last couple of games - the draw against Newcastle, and we should have beaten Harlequins away - you can't be nearly men all the time.

"We have just got to get the pressure situations sorted out in our team, kick our goals and kick field position when we get there.

"We know we are good with ball in hand - it's the basics that let us down. Even in the last three or four minutes, we knocked the ball on twice. If you can't convert your pressure into points, you get beaten.

"Apart from the opening day at Saracens, we've either won games or lost by three or four points. We just need to be a bit more precise, and then we can convert these to wins."

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Rugby Union

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