IT IS a general rule in England v Scotland matches at a high level, in any sport, that, for the Scots to win, they have to play to their best, while the English have an off-day. The difference in resources and depth of talent always gives the English the edge.
Scorers: Sale: Tries: Vernon, Brady, Buckley, Seymour, Miller, Uys, Peel; Conversions: Macleod (3), Miller (4); Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Murchie, Seymour, Horne; Conversions: Jackson, Wight (2); Penalty Goals: Jackson (2).
Thus it was in this entertaining ten-tries romp in the sunshine of the leafy Manchester suburbs.
When Sale struggled to find their rhythm in the first half, Glasgow were in the driving seat, but, once Sale tightened-up their game after the turn-round, they pulled clear to win.
But it is that first half display, when they asked real questions of their hosts, that will give Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend the happier memories of this game. Glasgow went off at a cracking pace and might have had a couple of tries on the board before Ruaridh Jackson opened the scoring with a penalty goal.
He later added a second, but all Glasgow had to show for their fine first-half attacking display was Peter Murchie’s try, finishing off prop Gordon Reid’s spadework and converted by Jackson.
Sale, on more meagre rations, scored two converted tries, both run-in from long range, by Scotland number eight Richie Vernon and winger Tom Brady.
For the second half, Brian Redpath, the Sale coach, introduced Richie Gray, who showed his star quality with a 20-minute cameo of power and pace, before he hyper-extended his right elbow and retired.
The English side also ruthlessly exploited every Glasgow error, out-scoring their guests by five tries to two in chalking-up a convincing win.
“You cannot make the basic mistakes we did in the second half against a side as good as Sale,” said Glasgow coach Townsend.
“That was the disappointing aspect of the game for me. We made too many turn-overs and that is the easiest kind of possession to attack with.
“Our touch kicking was also poor in the second half, but this gives us stuff to work on and I am sure we will be better against Exeter, at Ayr, on Thursday night.
“Also, I had some 14 players who couldn’t be considered for this game. They will come back, and while I am naturally disappointed at the outcome, we put them under a lot of pressure and trailing 14-10 at half time was disappointing. Had we taken our chances we could have led then.”
With Gray to the fore, Sale surged clear in the third quarter, and in a second half which produced seven tries, five to Sale, Glasgow were always playing second fiddle. Redpath felt his side had been a bit loose in the first half, and was far happier with a tighter second-half showing.
Sale Sharks: R Miller, C Amesbury, W Addison, J Leota, T Brady, N Macleod, C Willis; E Lewis-Roberts, J Ward, T Buckley, F McKenzie, J Gaskell, M Easter, D Seymour, R Vernon. Subs used: M Jones, V Cobilas, R Harrison, R Gray, T Holmes, J Doyle, D Peel, D Cipriani, J Davies, C Uys. Not used: A Croall, C Ingall.
Glasgow Warriors: P Murchie, T Seymour, B McGuigan, A Dunbar, T Paris, R Jackson, H Pyrgos; G Reid, P McArthur, M Cusack, T Swinson, N Campbell, A Macdonald, C Fusaro, R Wilson. Replacements all used: F Gillies, M Low, E Kalman, J Eddie, A Ashe, T Nathan, S Wight, P Horne, S Kennedy, F Thomson G Hunter.