Sharks snatch dramatic victory against Wasps
The hosts boosted their top four hopes with a try bonus-point win as they beat the visitors 28-27 in a remarkable comeback, after scores from Rob Webber, Byron McGuigan and Bryn Evans wiped out Wasps’ early 17-0 advantage.
After overcoming a dislocated finger in the defeat to Leicester, Elliot Daly opened the scoring for Wasps with one of his trademark monster penalties from the halfway line.
A rapid start from the visitors soon resulted in their first try after a powerful line-out drive sucked Sale in, creating the space for Josh Bassett on the openside to go over in the corner.
Jimmy Gopperth added the extras as Wasps raced into an early 10-0 lead before the hosts suffered another blow when James O'Connor was forced off with an injury.
It then went from bad to worse as the visitors exposed Sale once again. In a re-run of the first try, a line-out short of the 10m line in the hosts’ half exposed the defence.
From there, Danny Cipriani came on the outside of Gopperth, Christian Wade provided the decoy run, and Bassett found himself in plenty of space to touch down his second.
Another conversion from Gopperth hammered home Wasps’ advantage, but just as it looked as though they were running away with it, Sale fought back to within two points at the break.
First, Alan MacGinty got the hosts on the board with a penalty after Wasps were penalised at the breakdown, before the flyhalf then played a pivotal role in both tries.
His run following a solid Sale scrum took the hosts close to the line and after Mike Haley was also held up, Rob Webber picked up the ball and crashed over against his former side.
Sharks were not done yet, though, and after converting the first try, MacGinty showed his class with a perfectly judged chip behind the Wasps defence for Byron McGuigan to score.
This time MacGinty was unable to convert. However, Sale were suddenly right back in the game at the interval, having recovered from 0-17 down, and it was not long before they took the lead.
Less than a minute into the second half, Wasps scrumhalf Dan Robson saw his box kick charged down by Bryn Evans, who chased the loose ball and touched down.
Another MacGinty penalty extended the hosts’ lead to 23-17, but Wasps responded with a try of their own on 50 minutes as Daly went over following a storming run from Wade.
Gopperth’s conversion edged the visitors back in front, yet they were reduced to 14 men just before the hour when Cipriani was penalised for deliberately knocking the ball out of Faf de Klerk's hands.
MacGinty failed to take advantage with the penalty and instead it was Wasps who got the next score as Gopperth added a further three points with his longest kick of the season.
Despite Sharks’ best efforts, they were unable to breach the Wasps defence and Cipriani returned from the bin with the visitors winning the ten-minute period 3-0.
Substitute James Haskell then replaced Cipriani in the sin bin as Sale pushed for the line in the final minutes, before Yarde crossed in the corner to secure a dramatic victory at the death.
Tries: Webber, McGuigan, Evans, Yarde
Pens: MacGinty 2
Tries: Bassett 2, Daly
Cons: Gopperth 3
Pens: Daly, Gopperth
Yellow Cards: Danny Cipriani (Wasps), James Haskell (Wasps)
Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 James O'Connor, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Alexandru Tarus, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Josh Beaumont, 20 Tom Curry, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Luke James, 23 TJ Ioane.
Wasps: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Guy Thompson, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Jack Willis, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 James Haskell, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Juan De Jongh, 23 Guy Armitage.
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Jonathan Healy, Tim Wigglesworth
TMO: Keith Lewis