Another week, another disappointing loss for Sale, who went down 34-27 to Gloucester at Kingsholm on Saturday.
But unlike last week's defeat by Bath, Sale started very strong, a performance that saw them good value for their 17-6 half-time lead after a blistering, three-try 40 minutes with scores from Tom Arscott, Chris Cusiter and Luke McLean. It was not to last however as Sale proverbially shot themselves in the foot after half-time with repeated infringements that saw them penalised and duly punished by the boot of Greig Laidlaw. But to blame the loss solely on Sale is a misnomer, as more important than Sale's own mistakes was the resurgent play Gloucester enjoyed after a below-par first half, dominating the scrum and line-out and out-scoring Sale 28 points to 10 (and three tries to one) in the second half to give themselves a fully-deserved win over the eighty minutes.
1) Who was unavailable to play?
Marc Jones, Dan Braid, Mark Cueto, Johnny Leota and Sam Tuitupou were all absent from today's game. Jones and Braid's absences the most glaring (more on that later) but all five could be due for a return to the squad for next's week match against London Welsh. With two losses out of two to start the season, getting first-team regulars back will be a welcome boost for Sale.
2) What changes will be made for Gloucester?
Shalva Mamukashvili, Jonathan Mills and Tom Arscott replaced the absent Jones, Braid and Cueto respectively, Ross Harrison started at Loosehead Prop with Andrei Ostrikov and Andy Forsyth coming onto the bench.
3) Have Gloucester fixed the issues from their thumping by Northampton?
Gloucester's first-half performance was very reminiscent of their showing against Northampton last week, however over the entire 80 minutes and especially in the second-half, Gloucester were massively improved in all areas. More performances like today's will see them challenge Top-Six.
What did you make of today's game? Leave a comment below or Tweet us £