Du Preez brothers help Sale shock Premiership leaders
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: South African brothers Robert and Daniel du Preez contributed 12 of Sale Sharks’ points in their 22-19 victory over Premiership leaders Exeter on Saturday, avenging two defeats this season in the Champions Cup.
Robert landed seven with the boot and younger sibling Daniel claimed a try as Sale scored all their points in a rip-roaring first-half performance.
Sale are four points adrift of Exeter after withstanding a second-half fightback.
Second-placed Northampton had slipped to a surprise 16-20 home defeat by London Irish on Friday.
Sale moved into third due to Gloucester’s 16-34 thrashing by Bristol.
The Sharks got going through a penalty by Robert du Preez and a try from former England wing Chris Ashton.
Despite being a man down – Rohan Janse van Rensburg sent to the sin bin – Sale added to their first-half tally with further tries by Daniel du Preez and Scotland wing Byron McGuigan, who intercepted a poor pass to touch down against his former club.
Sam Simmonds and Tom O’Flaherty – who had also been sin-binned in the first-half – scored tries for the hosts in the final quarter of the match to at least secure a losing bonus point.
However, Sale held on to record their first win at Exeter since 2014.
Exeter’s director of rugby Rob Baxter said he would take the defeat on the chin even though only on Friday he had called on his players to take a stranglehold on the Premiership during the Six Nations which gets underway next weekend.
“Sometimes you just need to stop and get the batteries plugged back in and I’ve said to the lads, make sure you’re emotionally recharged and physically recharged and you’re ready to kick off again,” he told BBC Radio.
His Sale counterpart Steve Diamond said it was great to get an away win over the top side but felt the performance could have been better.
“There was a lot of endeavour and skill to score three tries at the start and loads of spirit in the team,” he told BBC Radio.
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Dollman, Simmonds, O’Flaherty
Cons: Steenson 2
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Ashton, D Du Preez, McGuigan
Cons: R Du Preez 2
Pen: R Du Preez
Yellow cards: Tom O’Flaherty (Exeter, 13); Rohan Janse van Rensburg (Sale, 32)
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Tom O’Flaherty, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Stuart Townsend, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Dave Dennis (captain), 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jordon Poole, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Tom Hendrickson.
Sale Sharks: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Sam James, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Jean-Luc du Preez, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 WillGriff John, 19 James Phillips, 20 Matt Postlethwaite, 21 Gus Warr, 22 Luke James, 23 Marland Yarde.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Mike Hudson & Rob Warburton.
TMO: Geoff Warren.