Sale Sharks keep play-off hopes alive
PREMIERSHIP WRAP: Sale Sharks were triumphant in their first Premiership game since November as they powered past Wasps 26-18 for a bonus-point success at the AJ Bell Stadium.
A late Wasps try scored by Jimmy Gopperth gave the scoreline a false reflection as Sale stormed into a 26-8 lead after 44 minutes.
Tries from Jean-Luc du Preez, Marland Yarde, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Ben Curry put the Sharks in command with the boot of AJ MacGinty adding three conversions.
“I thought we looked a bit tired in the final quarter but the job was pretty much done in that first 60 minutes,” said Sale’s director of rugby Alex Sanderson.
“I’ll have a nice night now but then it’s about cracking on again – we’ve started the year really well.”
Exeter Chiefs also boosted their chances of an English Premiership playoff place by inflicting a fourth straight defeat on Bristol Bears with a 19-13 in front of a record Sandy Park crowd.
Chiefs’ new East Stand development allowed attendance of 14 100 for the West Country derby and the majority of those in attendance got the result they wanted.
First-half tries by winger Tom O’Flaherty and lock Jonny Hill, with flyhalf Joe Simmonds adding one conversion, put them in control of the contest.
A second period lacking in imagination burst into life during the closing minutes when Bristol substitute Henry Purdy claimed a breakaway try that Callum Sheedy converted to cut the gap to two points.
But Exeter dug deep and when Scotland captain Stuart Hogg scored late on, Simmonds added the extras to make the game safe.
Bristol finished top of the regular season table last season, but remain second-bottom with just three wins from 11 games.
Exeter moved up to fifth, within one point of the top four.
The scorers and scorers:
Sale Sharks 26-18 Wasps
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Du Preez, Yarde, Van Rensburg, B. Curry
Cons: MacGinty 3
Tries: Bassett, Gopperth
Pens: Gopperth 2
Exeter Chiefs 19-13 Bristol Bears
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: O’Flaherty, Hill, Hogg
Cons: J Simmonds 2
For Bristol Bears:
Pens: Sheedy 2