Posted in match reports

View from the armchair: Clermont 25 Sale 19 [ERC]

This was one of those I’d-have-taken-that-beforehand games: the type that, by the end, you’re actually feeling a bit disappointed with a result that’s better than you feared.

Given how various pundits were bigging up Clermont’s credentials, coupled with Sale’s frankly milquetoast performance the previous week, I think that expecting a bit of a drubbing was not unreasonable.

Losing AJ late on (congratulations to him and his missus) didn’t help, of course. Having to then watch Rob drop the opening kick-off sent my expectations for the next couple of hours to their lowest point.

I’m struggling, here, to find something new to say about a Sale performance that was— let’s call it a curate’s egg, shall we? I feel as if all I can really do is recycle comments from previous reports: flashes of brilliance, periods of dominance, annoying errors, stupid penalties, yellow card…

And, of course, the almost traditional scoreless second half. That is, I believe, now four second-halves and one first-half where Sale have failed to move the scoreboard.


Despite so much same old, same old, I felt a bit more encouraged by this performance than previous games. It certainly felt better, even in defeat, than the previous game against Bristol.

I can’t really point to anything specific to back that up; it just felt like an improvement in – I dunno – attitude? Cohesion? Not the full deal yet, not by a long way, but flashes of last season’s semi-finalists.

But, like I say, I’m struggling to find something new to say. Rodd and Ashman get incrementally better with each game but need to be substituted earlier. Schonert is showing signs of deserving first-choice status. Luke is a good attacking fullback, Hammers is a good defensive fullback. We need Faf back, assuming we’ll be losing Raffi as soon as he’s fit again. We need to reunite Sam with his mojo, quickly.

So, sixth place in the table and we should qualify for the round of 16 (eighth-finals?). Even without that prospect, we need a good win on Sunday against Ospreys, as much for team confidence as anything. With Leicester coming to town the week after, we need every bit of boost we can get.



Photographer and science geek. Rugby fan (Sale Sharks).