Leeds 3-6 Sale, Aviva Premiership, October 22
Back reveals Fourie injury blow
October 22, 2010
Leeds boss Neil Back reflects on the game

Leeds Carnegie head coach Neil Back revealed that England elite squad member Hendre Fourie damaged his rib cartilage in his side's narrow Aviva Premiership defeat to Sale Sharks.

Nick Macleod kicked two penalties to one from Ceiron Thomas as Sale edged out their northern rivals 6-3 for their first away win in the Premiership since their last visit to Headingley 11 months ago. The defeat was Leeds's sixth of the season and keeps them winless at the foot of the table, and they will be hoping the damage done to their South African-born flanker is not too serious.

The 31-year-old is a member of Martin Johnson's elite squad for the season ahead but could face a postponement to a potential debut for his adopted country as his injury is likely to take two to three weeks to heal.

England begin their autumn international campaign in 15 days against New Zealand at Twickenham, and Back said: "How severe it is we don't yet know. Hopefully it will be right for the autumn internationals. I hope he gets his chance because he's deserved it.

"I've had a similar injury before and although it's way too early to say how bad it is, it is manageable and I wouldn't rule him out yet of the opening international. His performances throughout last season deserve the reward of an England cap."

Man of the Match - Leeds' Andy Tuilagi

Sale are up to the relative sanctuary of mid-table after their third win of the season and head coach Mike Brewer said after a scrappy game: "At half-time I told the boys I don't mind if you win 3-0 and they were laughing after coming in at the end having won 6-3.

"The whole thing for us was about coming to Leeds to win. With the way the weather was forecast this week and after coming to watch the Stade Francais game I knew that on a pitch that is not very wide like Headingley it's difficult to score a try here.

"You don't get around Leeds easily - they don't miss tackles. For us it was about field position. We kept our shape in defence pretty good and we set out and achieved what we wanted to do.

"We managed the game pretty well in the second half. We wanted to keep them pinned in their own corner and from there it was about building the points. It's on the home team to provide the entertainment, it's up to the away team to find the win."

Back refuted accusations that Leeds are lacking confidence with just one win achieved in eight games in all competitions so far this term. "I don't believe we are devoid of confidence. It was a tough game dominated by defences. Sometimes you have got to give credit to that part of the game. And if you get away with it that's great.

"Sale slowed up the ruck and ultimately it came down to a few opportunities and Sale took theirs and took the points. They slowed the game down at the contact area and you've got to applaud that. They were smarter than us."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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