Sale kick off Premiership with Falcons win

Sale Sharks kicked off the Aviva Premiership with a strong 35-18 victory over Newcastle Falcons at Edgeley Park

In the first match of the new Aviva Premiership season, debutants Karena Wihongi and Tom Brady ran in tries and fly-half Nick Macleod notched four penalties and two conversions before the half-time interval at Edgeley Park.

The Falcons had scored the first try of the night through Brent Wilson and former Munster stand-off Jeremy Manning would eventually kick eight points.

But the hosts dominated for the vast majority of the game and two more penalties from Macleod and a drop goal from Dwayne Peel put them out of sight.

Both sides were looking for winning start after disappointing finishes last term and it was the hosts who were in the ascendancy in the early stages.

Ben Cohen collected Macleod’s kick-off and set up and attack that would yield a penalty, which the stand-off slotted through the posts with barely a minute on the clock.

Props Andrew Sheridan and Wihongi carried the ball with purpose and their endeavour was rewarded with two more penalties, which Macleod also converted to make it 9-3.

Manning had earlier nailed a three-pointer before hitting the post with a second attempt but after five-metre scrum Newcastle flanker Wilson crashed over for a try to give the visitors the lead.

Sale continued to enjoy most of the pressure, however, and retook the lead when Wihongi burrowed over after a break from young prospect Brady.

And the advantage was extended when Macleod’s well-weighted chip through allowed Brady to cross the whitewash to continue his impressive debut.

Macleod added the extras and sent another penalty through the posts to make it 23-10 before the interval.

Manning was taken off for Jimmy Gopperth at the start of the second half but could not provide the spark that the Falcons needed to get back into the game.

After Macleod added his fifth penalty of the night, he swapped places with Peel and the Wales international duly slotted a drop-goal over as Sale raced away from the visitors.

Macleod made it 35-13 in the 59th minute with another penalty, although the hosts also suffered from indiscipline as replacement scrum-half Chris Leck was sin binned for a dangerous tackle seconds after coming on.

And the Falcons capitalised to score a late consolation as Wilson powered his way over in the corner with eight minutes left on the clock.

Final Score Sale (26) 35 Newcastle (13) 18


Sale Sharks
Tries: Wihongi, Brady
Pen: MacLeod 6
Drop-G: Peel
Con: MacLeod 2

Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Wilson 2
Pen: Manning 2
Con: Manning


Sale: Williams, Brady, Tonetti, Tuilagi, Cohen, Macleod, Peel, Sheridan, Briggs, Wihongi, Rouse, Gaskell (capt), Fearns, Seymour, Koyamaibole.

Replacements: Jones, Croall, Forster, Lewaravu, Cox, Leck, James, Crane.

Newcastle: Tait, Bobo, Eves, Henderson, Amesbury, Manning, Pilgrim, Golding, Vickers, Ryan, Hudson (capt), Swinson, Wilson, Welch, Hogg.

Replacements: Brookes, Ward, Shiells, Levi, Pennycook, Young, Gopperth, Vickerman.

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