Saffa-laden Sale blank Exiles
MATCH REPORT: Springbok Lood de Jager’s Premiership debut ended in delight as Sale Sharks marched to a conformable 39-0 win over London Irish.
Three tries from the James brothers helped put Steve Diamond’s men top of the Premiership Rugby table.
De Jager and fellow South Africa World Cup winner Francois de Klerk entered the fray from the bench on 55 minutes to the delight of the AJ Bell crowd and helped turn a 15-0 advantage into an even more conclusive triumph.
Irish had their own international legend making his debut in the form of Ireland back row forward Sean O’Brien and after a couple of early turnovers, he was replaced by Blair Cowan on 48 minutes.
Sam James’s 18th-minute moment of opportunism put Sharks on top as he intercepted a Motu Matu’u pass and ran in for the score before his brother Luke finished off an 80-metre breakaway try just before half-time.
After De Jager’s introduction, he secured a line-out and Rob Webber mauled his way over the line for try number three, before Denny Solomona released Sam James for his second of the day and the bonus-point score.
De Klerk then created the final two Sale tries as his blindside dart and offload enabled Solomona to finish in the corner and the South African’s cross-field kick picked out Byron McGuigan for the dot-down with the final play.
— Sale Sharks🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) March 6, 2020
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: S James 2, L James, Webber, Solomona, McGuigan
Cons: R Du Preez 3
Pen: R Du Preez
For London Irish: None
Yellow card: Harry Erlington (London Irish, 58)
Sale Sharks: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Luke James, 11 Marland Yarde, 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 Coenie Oosthuizen
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 WillGriff John, 19 James Phillips, 20 Lood de Jager, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Byron McGuigan
London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Terrence Hepetema, 11 Ollie Hassell Collins, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Ben Donnell 6 Seán O’Brien, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Franco van der Merwe (captain), 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Harry Elrington
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Matt Rogerson, 21 Blair Cowan, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Bryce Campbell
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Rowan Kitt.