Jones hails record breaker Hodgson

Charlie Hodgson has been backed to keep piling on the points after becoming the highest-scoring player in Guinness Premiership history.

Hodgson could not prevent Sale Sharks losing 32-25 to Newcastle at Edgeley Park today, but he earned praise from director of rugby Kingsley Jones after kicking 20 points to surpass Jonny Wilkinson’s record haul of 1,489 and move to 1,492 career points.

A 78th-minute try from Newcastle flanker Brent Wilson spoiled the home crowd’s celebrations as the Falcons secured a bonus-point victory.

Despite his side missing the chance to keep pace with league leaders Gloucester, Jones paid tribute to his number 10.

Jones said: “It is a great achievement for Charlie. You think of players like Jonny Wilkinson who he has passed and it is a great achievement.

“He is 28 years old and who knows where that will end.”

Despite Sale establishing a 13-point lead after eight minutes through the boot of Hodgson and a Neil Briggs try, Newcastle hit back with tries from Jon Golding, Danny Williams, Andrew Fenby and Wilson to earn their third successive away victory.

The win was Newcastle’s fifth in a row and Falcons director of rugby Steve Bates was delighted with the way his players battled back.

Bates said: “It was a tremendous game, a bit nerve-wracking at the end there.

“We played some good stuff this afternoon and four tries was a fair reflection of a lot of our game.

“I am proud of the way they fought back and they dominated possession and territory for the last 20 minutes.

“They are a great bunch of guys and deserve this for the tough and hard work and maybe bit of criticism they received early in the season.

“We had to restructure our game, it took longer than planned, but we are benefiting from it now.”

Jones was left shellshocked by the result as Sharks lost their second successive game.

They also suffered injuries to Dwayne Peel, Stuart Turner and Nick Macleod.

Jones said: “It is a disappointing result and we have a few injuries in what is a crucial period for us - it is not a good at all.

“I would have been disappointed with a draw five minutes from time but to then lose the game is very hard to take.

“We started well but our second-half performance was poor, but I have to give Newcastle credit for the way they played.

“We now have around 17 players injured and I am concerned how tired we looked today. We need to freshen up, keep everyone fit and wrap them in cotton wool.”