Northampton Saints too strong for Sale Sharks

Northampton Saints scored three tries on their way to beating Sale Sharks 16-27 in the Aviva Premiership on Friday.


New coach John Mitchell’s arrival made little difference to Sale Sharks as they slumped to their ninth loss of the season.

With players returning from international duty, and the return of Ben Foden
at full back from an injury lay-off, Saints coach Jim Mallinder saw his side
win their third game in a row.

Mitchell watched his new side in action for the first time, and saw them second
best in the scrum and the driving maul.

Three first-half tries gave the Saints a buffer against a second half Sale fightback,
as the Sharks scored 13 unanswered second half points.

Late changes to Sale’s original starting line-up saw Danny Cipriani withdrawn
with an illness, while Jonny Leota hadn’t recovered fully from a concussion.

Ryan Lamb kicked off into the dense fog, and took the first penalty of the night
in front of the posts after five minutes to get the ball rolling for the Saints.

Nick Macleod pulled a goal back on 16, just two minutes before Saints winger
Jamie Elliott raced down his line to score the first try of the night, evading
any attempts to catch him.

Despite the Sharks trying to break Northampton’s line, strong running from prop
Soane Tonga’uiha again evaded any Sale attempts to stop his charge to the line,
as he added a second try for Northampton 23 minutes in.

With two conversions from Lamb, and a well worked drop goal from the fly-half,
Northampton piled on the misery for Sale.

Just as half-time was looming, Sale were working their way up field, but a misplaced
pass from Macleod found its way to Tom May, who ran from the Sale 10m line to
dot down for the last play of the half.

Lamb’s third conversion saw Saints go into half-time with a commanding 27-3
lead.

Sale started strongly in the second half, with a great move that ended with
Rob Miller’s try on 44 minutes. The ball was played along their line after a
break through the Saints defensive line, and they sought the gap that eventually
came on Miller’s wing.

Although Macleod missed the conversion, he added a second penalty soon after,
as part of a fight back that Mitchell had urged his side on to.

Fresh legs in the Sale front line saw them stem the Northampton tide in the
scrum, and this freshness paid off, as Tommy Taylor drove over the line with
only two minutes to play.

Referee Llyr ApGeraint Roberts referred the decision to his TMO, and with a
missed conversion, the game ended with Sale rooted to the bottom of the table,
five points behind nearest rivals London Irish.

Final Score Sale Sharks (3) 16 Northampton (27) 27


Scorers


Sale Sharks
Try: Miller, Taylor
Pens: MacLeod 2


Northampton Saints
Tries: Elliott, Tonga’uiha, May
Cons: Lamb 3
Pen: Lamb
Drop goal : Lamb


Match Officials
Referee
: Llyr ApGeraint Roberts (7th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: David Grashoff


Teams


Sale Sharks


15. Cameron Shepherd , 14. Charlie Amesbury , 13. Mark Cueto, 12. Sam Tuitupou , 11. Rob Miller, 10.Nick Macleod , 9. Dwayne Peel , 8. Richie Vernon , 7. David Seymour (capt.) , 6. Andy Powell , 5. Kearnan Myall , 4. Richie Gray, 3. Tony Buckley, 2. Tommy Taylor, 1. Ross Harrison


Replacements:16. Joe Ward , 17. Eifion Lewis-Roberts , 18. Vadim Cobilas , 19. Fraser McKenzie , 20. James Gaskell , 21. Will Cliff , 22.Uys , 23. Addison



Northampton Saints


15 Ben Foden

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