Gloucester 29 - 3 Sale Sharks

Match info: Premiership at Kingsholm

Date: 24/11/2012 KO: 12:00 Att: 12,501

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Gloucester

TriesQera (63) Penalty (75)ConversionsBurns (63, 75)PenaltiesBurns (4, 11, 20, 22, 25)

29
vs
3

Sale

PenaltiesCipriani (37)

FT (ht: 15-3)

  • Last Updated: November 24 2012, 17:12 GMT

Head coach Nigel Davies believes the England selectors have got to look at giving Gloucester fly-half Freddie Burns a cap soon after another magical Aviva Premiership display in the defeat of hapless Sale Sharks.

Freddie Burns: Backed for England call
Freddie Burns: Backed for England call

Burns outshone former England fly-half Danny Cipriani opposite him at Kingsholm, booting five first-half penalties and controlling Gloucester's game pattern as the hosts put pressure on top dogs Harlequins and Saracens - both beaten last night.

The Sharks' only points of a match in which they hardly featured came via a single Cipriani penalty as handling errors from both sides caused a poor game to stagnate until home flanker Akapusi Qera got a touchdown on 53 minutes followed by a late penalty try for the Cherry and Whites.

Burns, the Premiership's top points scorer this season, has been knocking on the England door for a while but has the likes of Toby Flood and rising star George Ford as challengers for the international number 10 jersey.

But Davies said: "I think he has played superbly well. I think he has got everything that an international outside-half needs.

"What we have seen here with him is a maturity which probably wasn't there in the past - but his game management today was excellent.

"He kept the ball in front of his pack for the best part of the game and put a lot of pressure on Sale as a result.

"Then to step up and get the points - and they weren't easy kicks - he never looked like missing.

"He is always a threat, even today with such a boggy field, he was always there.

"So, for me, he is an exceptional player, somebody who is on top of his game at the moment."

Burns said he had an 'armchair ride' thanks to his pack, and Davies was impressed by the whole side on a saturated Kingsholm pitch following the week's downpours.

"Conditions dictated that we needed to play in a certain way and we did that. I'm very pleased with the way it went," said Davies.

The game was held up for five minutes when Gloucester's Australian hooker Huia Edmonds was knocked out in a tackle and left with his neck in a brace on a stretcher.

Thankfully, he has recovered quickly and Davies said: "He is fine and up and about.

"Huia was having a great game as well. He was putting his body on the line which is why he was knocked-out.

"But it is not something which is serious. It might keep him out for a week but nothing longer than that."

The defeat means Sale have lost eight of their nine Premiership matches, but chief executive Steve Diamond said: "I still thought we were in this match at half-time."

He added: "We are disappointed.

"I find it difficult that at 10 of Gloucester's scrums, we give 10 penalties away which sounds pretty ridiculous and the interpretation of that is difficult.

"In the second half, we had to convert some of the possession we had into points.

"Our average penalty count this season is 10 (given away) and it was 21 today which says something about the (referee's) interpretation.

"We go back to the drawing board, back to basics and rebuild next week for Northampton at home."


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