Bok scores as Sale Sharks solidify top-four place
PREMIERSHIP WRAP: Sales Sharks recorded a 41-13 win over London Irish at the AJ Bell on Sunday.
The Sale Sharks ran in six tries to solidify the club’s place in the top four as the Premiership approaches its climax.
Elsewhere Bristol Bears extended their lead at the top with a 28-21 win over Northampton Saints.
Sale Sharks 41-13 London Irish
First-half tries from Simon Hammersley, Lood de Jager and Byron McGuigan gave the Sharks a commanding lead heading into the interval following a clinical first-half form the home side.
Academy star Arron Reed secured the Sharks’ bonus point try early in the second half before McGuigan completed his hat-trick with two more scores.
Scotland winger McGuigan showed his classy finishing skills in both halves to help his side bounce back from defeat at Northampton last weekend
His first came as he latched on to a clever kick over the top from scrum-half Faf de Klerk, his second from an interception as he raced clear from halfway and then his third in the final seconds when got round on the outside despite his side being down to 13 men.
A five-point return for Sale Sharks coupled with means Alex Sanderson’s side have a six-point cushion over the fifth-placed Northampton Saints.
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: McGuigan 3, Hammersley, De Jager, Reed
Cons: R du Preez 3, MacGinty
For London Irish
Pens: Jackson 2
SaleSharks: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 Connor Doherty, 11 Arron Reed, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Faf de Klerk (c), 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, 7 Cameron Neild, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Josh Beaumont, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 James Harper, 19 James Phillips, 20 Sam Dugdale, 21 Will Cliff, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Luke James
London Irish: 15 James Stokes, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Theo Brophy Clews, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Ben Donnell, 6 Matt Rogerson (captain), 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Lovejoy Chawatama, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke
Replacements: 16 Matt Cornish, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 George Nott, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Will Joseph, 23 Tom Parton
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Rowan Kitt
Northampton Saints 21-28 Bristol Bears
The Bears saw the tables turned on them during a see-saw contest at Franklin’s Gardens, with Northampton storming back from 0-14 down to lead 21-14 going into the closing stages.
But Uren’s score completed a comeback that was started by Luke Morahan’s try, as Bristol extended their lead at the top to seven points, while Saints fell six points behind fourth-placed Sale in the race for the play-offs.
After 24 minutes of competitive action, it was Bristol who broke the deadlock when Henry Purdy ran on to Alapati Leiua’s pass before bursting clear from 40 metres out for a superbly-taken try.
Tiff Eden kicked the conversion and it was not long until the Bears struck again to take control of the contest.
Their forwards were repelled as a driving maul from an attacking line-out was stopped just short, but Siva Naulago was on hand to plunge over from close range, with Eden converting excellently from out wide.
Northampton were back in it off the final play of the first half as Nick Isiekwe ran on to James Grayson’s long pass out to the left to go in at the corner, with Grayson’s conversion halving the deficit at the break.
The gap was narrowed to four points early in the second half by a Grayson penalty, and the fly-half was successful from the tee again not long after, following obstruction by Leiua.
A match that looked to be getting away from the hosts was now right back in the balance and Saints completed the turnaround after 55 minutes.
Tommy Freeman kicked the ball down the left wing and the bounce beat Purdy, allowing George Furbank to pounce and go clear to score, with Grayson missing the conversion.
The Northampton fly-half did, however, send through his third penalty after being tripped in chasing his own kick to extend the lead to 21-14.
Soon after Grayson was replaced, Harry Mallinder sent a penalty of his own wide before Bristol produced that stunning fightback in the closing stages.
With six minutes left, the forwards did the hard yards in inching towards the line before Purdy’s superb long pass sent Morahan in at the corner, with Sam Bedlow’s conversion levelling the score.
Less than two minutes later, the Bears snatched victory as Morahan picked up the loose ball before charging away down the right and passing inside to send Uren under the posts.
For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Isiekwe, Furbank
Pens: Grayson 3
For Bristol Bears
Tries: Purdy, Naulago, Morahan, Uren
Cons: Eden 2, Bedlow 2
Northampton: 15 George Furbank, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Fraser Dingwall, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 James Grayson, 9 Tom James, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 Alex Coles, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller (c)
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Alex Moon, 20 JJ Tonks, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Harry Mallinder
Bristol: 15 Henry Purdy, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Siva Naulago, 10 Tiff Eden, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (c), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Joe Joyce, 3 John Afoa, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Sam Bedlow, 23 Luke Morahan
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant referees: Paul Dix, Peter Allan
TMO: Claire Hodnett