Sale smashes 14-man Tigers
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Sale Sharks kept their top four hopes alive with a comfortable bonus-point victory over Leicester Tigers at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday.
Steve Diamond’s men bounced back from their defeat to Exeter Chiefs last time out in style as they ran in five tries against Leicester, who started the game level on points with their hosts.
Tries from Bryn Evans, Denny Solomona, Valery Morozov, Josh Beaumont and Francois de Klerk, plus a penalty try in time added on, sealed an important victory for the Sharks.
Leicester Tigers had taken an early lead through Facundo Gigena but it would prove to be their last score as the visitors finished the game with 14 men after Sione Kalamafoni saw red.
The visitors were forced into a change before the game started, with Jordan Olowofela replacing George Worth after the centre was injured in the warm-up.
And it was Olowofela who created the visitors’ first score, breaking clear and capitalising on a de Klerk slip to set up Gigena, who was deemed to have reached the line with the help of TMO.
Leicester flyhalf Joe Ford missed the conversion, and de Klerk followed suit minutes later when a penalty on the opposition 10-metre line went wide of the posts.
The hosts continued to press forward and Evans levelled the score in the 22nd minute, before Ford was sent to the sin bin for slapping the ball out of Beaumont’s hands in the build-up.
Sale added a second try five minutes later through Solomona after quick hands down the line to move into a 10-5 lead at the break.
A third try followed ten minutes after the break when Morozov went over after a break upfield from Arron Reed, but de Klerk wasn’t able to convert.
Tigers learned they would have to overturn the deficit without Kalamafoni six minutes later when the No.8 was shown red for shouldering opposite number Beaumont in the head.
Sale’s lead became insurmountable when Beaumont utilised Sharks’ advantage in the scrum to go over on the hour-mark, but de Klerk again missed the kick before being sent to the sin bin.
Sharks continued to press for more points and were rewarded when de Klerk returned to go over four minutes from time, while a late penalty try sealed a comfortable victory.
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Evans, Solomona, Morozov, Beaumont, De Klerk, Penalty try
Con: Penalty try does not require a conversion
For Leicester Tigers:
Yellow cards: Joe Ford (Leicester Tigers, 21), Francois de Klerk (Sale Sharks, 61)
Red card: Sione Kalamafoni (Leicester Tigers, 55)
Sale Sharks: 15 Luke James, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 James O’Connor, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Arron Reed, 10 Sam James, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Josh Beaumont, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 James Phillips, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Valery Morozov.
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 James Jones, 19 Matt Postlethwaite, 20 Cameron Neild, 21 Gus Warr, 22 Cameron Redpath, 23 Paolo Odogwu.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Jonah Holmes, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 George Worth, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Sam Aspland-Robinson, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Harry Simmons, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Will Spencer, 3 Joe Heyes, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Facundo Gigena.
Replacements: 16 Jake Kerr, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 David Feao, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Will Evans, 21 Sam Lewis, 22 Tom Hardwick, 23 Jordan Olowofela.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Jamie Leahy, Peter Allan
TMO: Graham Hughes