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Match Report: Sale Sharks 41-3 Cardiff Blues

  • Both sides made plenty of changes for this game
  • Cardiff Blues have won the Anglo Welsh cup once: Sale Sharks reached the finals in 2012.
  • Win for Sale virtually knocks Cardiff Blues out of contention for semi final spot

Both sides made a large number of changes for this game, with many unfamiliar faces appearing on the team sheets. Ultimately though, Sale Sharks will go away from this game feeling better, as they crushed Cardiff Blues in a match that was expected to be fairly close. With both sides relying largely on youth and inexperience, the result of the match was initially a little unpredictable.

The Blues had the first chance and seemed to have started off as the better team, with Jarrod Evans just failing to convert a penalty after poor defending from the hosts. However Sale, playing at home in front of a packed crowd at the AJ Bell stadium, responded quickly and decisively. Denny Solomona converted after 11 minutes. He was shortly followed by Jonathan Mills and Lawrence Pearce. Jarrod Evans scored for Cardiff to leave the away side trailing 19-3 at the break.

After the break, Sale added to their already very comfortable lead with some additional tries.  Cardiff Blues seemed unable to cope with the pace of Mills and Pearce, whilst James Sheekey kept it sturdy at the back for Sale. Jonathan Pearce added Sale’s 4th try of the night to send the Sharks ahead by 24-3, and his was shortly added to by Briggs.

Cardiff began to collect some yellow cards for some silly fouls, which were committed more out of frustration than genuine malice. Flynn then added to the score before a penalty try took the Sharks past 40. Cardiff tried to respond but could not get past Sale’s sturdy defence and the match finished a resounding 41-3 to Sale.

Sale go to the top of Pool Two and look good for a possible semi-final spot, whilst Cardiff are out of contention.

There were a few good points for Cardiff in the match. Youngster Kieron Assiriti showed that he can play against a top quality side,  while the captain tried to inspire his team in vain. Ultimately, though, the scoreline will disappoint them.

Player Ratings:

Sale Sharks

Mike Haley: (6) Played reasonably well and blocked a few Cardiff attempts. Physically very strong.

Denny Solomona: (8) My man of the match. Was instrumental In Sale attacks, scored for himself.

Jonny Leota: (5) Played reasonably and did his job.

Sam Tuitupou: (6) Had a relatively average evening.

Bryan Mcguigan: (6) Was reasonably energetic as a winger.

AJ Mcguinty: (8) One of the best performers. Was a threat throughout the match.

Mike Phillips: (6) Performed his job well but notably eased off toward the end of the game.

Ross Harrison: (6) Rewarded his team for his new contract with an assured performance at Prop.

Neil Briggs: (7) Showed his experience in aa game full of youngsters. Dropped back when necessary.

Halani Aulika: (6) The Tongan played reasonably and helped to set up Solomona.

Bryn Evans: (7) Showed his class.

Jonathan Mills: (7). A masterclass performance from the Welshman. Got forward frequently to support attacks.

Tom Curry: (7) Played well at scrum half. Assisted a try by Mcguinty.

David Seymour: (8) Was handed the captain’s armband and did not disappoint. A leader of men.

Lawrence Pearce: (9) Was energetic, scored two very good tries. Was a constant threat to the lacklustre and inexperienced Blues.

Subs:

James Flynn (7)

Mark Jennings (6)

 

Cardiff Blues

Aled Summerhill: (5) One of a long list of youngsters. Former Welsh under 18 international looked out of depth.

Teri Gee: (5) Thoroughly forgettable performance. Did not perform well.

Cory Allen: (6) A below average performance from the Welsh international. Was slow and lethargic but still one of the better performers.

Garyn Smith: (5) Was anonymous for much of the first period and even more so during the second.

Harry Millard: (5) To his credit, he did try hard and had a few runs forward. Unfortunately his evening was virtually fruitless. Was taken off.

Jarrod Evans: (7) Was one of Cardiff’s better players. Able to go toe to toe with Sale and scored Cardiff’s only try, plus had several other attempts.

Pele Cowley: (5) Like Millard, did put in some effort but struggled.

Corey Domachowski: (5) Tried to counter Sale’s better performance and inject some pace into Cardiff attacks, but failed.

Ethan Lewis: (5) Like most of the Cardiff players, a relatively anonymous performance. Wasted a golden opportunity to score.

Kieron Assiriti: (6) A surprisingly comfortable and adept performance from the youngster, when considering that the rest of his team looked out of their comfort zone. He has a big future ahead of him.

Ben Edwards: (6) An average performance. Performed well relative to those around him. Was involved in Cardiff’s only try.

Seb Davies: (4) Has been somewhat out of favour recently. A desperately lacklustre performance.

James Sheekey: (5) Had some pace but little end product quality.

Cam Dolan: (7) The captain was Cardiff’s best player, but ultimately his teammates let him down.

Morgan Sienawski: (5) Not the best performance in the world.

Subs:

Marc Thomas (6)

Aled Ward (6)

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