Chiefs edge Sharks to go top
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Lachlan Turner scored the only try of the match as Exeter Chiefs moved top of the Premiership Rugby table with a hard-fought 10-6 win against Sale Sharks.
The Australian wing crossed minutes into the second half and that try, along with the boot of Gareth Steenson, was enough to earn the defending champions a fifth win of the season.
Steenson kicked a penalty and conversion for the visitors, while Faf de Klerk hit two penalties for Sale in a physical game at AJ Bell Stadium.
But the home side, for all their pressure, could not find a breakthrough try and remain in the bottom half of the table with just two wins so far.
The first half was low on quality as both sides kicked for territory and coughed up possession when within striking distance and we had to wait until the half-hour mark for Steenson to put the Chiefs ahead with a penalty.
De Klerk responded for Sale with a penalty of his own but then both he and Chiefs’ Henry Slade missed further efforts before the break.
Exeter, perhaps given a stern talking to at half time, found their groove straight after the re-start as Turner burst through and score unopposed from a ruck.
Sale then upped the ante themselves and James O’Connor made a 70m burst down the left before a desperate Chiefs defence scrambled back to deny him a spectacular try.
De Klerk did close the score with a monstrous 48m penalty but Exeter continued to control territory until the dying minutes.
A yellow card for Stu Townsend meant the visitors finished with 14 men and Sale piled on the pressure five metres out with scrum-half De Klerk sensing glory, but the referee awarded a penalty to the Chiefs – allowing them to see out the game.
Pens: De Klerk 2
Yellow Card: Stuart Townsend (Exeter Chiefs, 75)
Sale Sharks: 15 Will Addison (captain), 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 George Nott, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Cameron Neild, 22 Will Cliff, 23 Mike Haley
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Nic White, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Sam Simmonds, 6 Don Armand, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Carl Rimmer
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Sam Skinner, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Tom Hendrickson, 23 Tom O'Flaherty
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Jack Makepeace, Wayne Falla
TMO: Trevor Fisher