Sale Sharks down Wasps in dire kicking fest
PREMIERSHIP WRAP: Sale Sharks got their season back on track with a 20-11 win over Wasps on Tuesday.
The Round 16 encounter at the Ricoh Arena was everything but entertaining.
Heavy rain and blustery conditions coupled with ill-discipline from both teams saw Sale Sharks earn their first win since the Premiership season restarted after suffering back-to-back losses.
The result means that Steve Diamond’s side leapfrogged to third, while Wasps slip to fourth.
In a largely uneventful first half on the score sheet, the Sharks cashed in on Wasps’ indiscipline to take a 9-6 lead at the interval, AJ MacGinty kicking three penalties,
Wasps started the second half well but failed to capitalise early on after a bout of pressure in the Sale 22 ended in a turnover and a chance for the Sharks to clear their lines.
Sale were out of sight when Luke James went over after an hour before Jack Willis crossed for a consolation, but it was too little too late for the hosts to turn the tide.
Jimmy Gopperth kicked two Wasps penalties but missed the late conversion that would have earned Wasps a losing bonus point, a costly error when you consider the how tight the top four is at present.
Having lost at home to leaders Exeter on Saturday, Sale, who were in second place coming out of the coronavirus hiatus, needed a win to ensure they remained in the top four going into the final quarter of the season.
The loss ended a five-game winning run for Wasps, who look likely to drop out of the top four on Wednesday when fifth-placed Bath and sixth-placed Northampton face one another.
The hosts almost crossed Sale’s line early in the second half, but the Sharks’ defence did well to repel their rivals and set the base for a solid second-half display.
Steve Diamond’s side finally broke through with 20 minutes to go when James crossed for the third successive game after a good move down the right from just inside Wasps’ 22.
Sale number eight Jono Ross, a late inclusion after Daniel du Preez failed a fitness test, was yellow-carded with five minutes to go after deliberately barging over Ben Vellacott as he chased a kick.
From the resulting penalty, Wasps kicked to touch and mauled a line-out up to the Sale line, but Tom Cruse was adjudged to have been held up in goal after a television review.
Wasps kept up the pressure and eventually broke through thanks to flank Willis, although Gopperth’s missed conversion meant they failed to get a losing bonus point.
— Sale Sharks🦈 (@SaleSharksRugby) August 25, 2020
Wasps 11-20 Sale Sharks
For Sale Sharks:
Pens: Macginty 5
Yellow card: Jono Ross (Sale Sharks, 75)
Wasps: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Jack Willis, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ben Harris.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Tom West, 18 Jack Owlett, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Charlie Atkinson, 23 Ryan Mills.
Sale Sharks: 15 Luke James, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Connor Doherty, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Arron Reed, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Ben Curry (captain), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 James Phillips, 4 Matt Postlethwaite, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Curtis Langdon, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Valery Morozov, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Jono Ross, 21 Faf De Klerk, 22 Sam James, 23 Tom Roebuck.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Greg MacDonald, Jonathan Healy
TMO: Nigel Carrick
Bristol Bears 22-25 Exeter Chiefs
For Bristol Bears:
Tries: O’Conor, Morahan, Lloyd
Cons: Sheedy 2
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Dollman, Hidalgo-Clyne, Keast
Cons: Steenson 2
Pens: Steenson 2
Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Ed Holmes, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Alapati Leiua.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Tom O’Flaherty, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Tom Hendrickson, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Sean Lonsdale, 7 Don Armand, 6 Jannes Kirsten, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Jack Innard, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Will Witty, 20 Richard Capstick, 21 Joe Snow, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Tom Wyatt.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys, Karl Dickson
TMO: Rowan Kitt