Bath too strong for Sale Sharks in Premiership

Guy Mercer slips off a Peter Stringer tackle

Bath Rugby earned a 32-26 Aviva Premiership bonus point victory over Sale Sharks at the Rec in a rescheduled match.

Bath went out to a 17-0 lead at half time but Sale Sharks came back and scored four second half tries..

Mike Ford’’s men have struggled throughout the campaign but they were superb against the Manchester outfit in the first half, taking a 17-0 advantage into the interval.

Ollie Devoto and Charlie Ewels both went over, while George Ford hinted at a return to form with seven points from the boot.

Johnny Leota and Andrei Ostrikov touchdowns brought the Sharks back into contention in the second period, but a further Ford three-pointer and tries from Semesa Rokoduguni and Will Homer secured the bonus-point win.

Despite going down to their first league defeat in four matches, the visitors did rescue two points of their own when TJ Ioane and Leota crossed the whitewash late on.

Sale were looking to repeat the feat from last weekend where they emerged with a 29-17 victory over the West Country side at the AJ Bell Stadium.

This match, a rearranged fixture from January, also offered them an opportunity to pressure Leicester Tigers for the final place in the top four.

However, Steve Diamond’’s men were surprisingly lacklustre, particularly in the opening quarter, as Bath opened up a comfortable 17-point buffer.

Just two minutes had elapsed when Devoto sidestepped his way across the whitewash following excellent work by forwards and backs alike. The stand-off was on target with the extras before Ewels barged over from close range to give the hosts a 14-0 lead.

Ford then kicked a penalty and the Sharks were in disarray but, to their credit, they managed to stem the time until the break.

That gave Diamond’’s team a chance to regroup and they were a completely different animal in the early stages of the second period.

Leota immediately reduced the deficit with a try before Ostrikov followed him by crossing the line after a driving maul had initially been halted.

Sale were now in the ascendency and Tommy Taylor set up the position for the visitors to potentially score another, but the move broke down and that gave Bath a chance to reorganise.

The West Country outfit duly did as Ford extended their advantage to six with a penalty while Rokoduguni scampered over soon after.

Homer completed the victory with a superb individual effort, although Sale managed to rescue two bonus points and move up to fifth place in the table through Ioane and Leota tries.

Final Score Bath 32 (17) Sale Sharks 26 (0)

Scorers

Bath
Tries – Devoto, Ewels, Rokoduguni, Homer
Pen – Ford (2)
Con – Ford (3)
Drop –

Sale Sharks
Tries – Leota (2), Ostrikov, Ioane
Pen –
Con – Cipriani (2), Ford
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee : Ian Tempest

Bath

15 Rhys Priestland , 14 Semesa Rokoduguni , 13 Jonathan Joseph , 12 Ollie Devoto , 11 Matt Banahan , 10 George Ford (c) , 9 Chris Cook , 8 Leroy Houston , 7 Guy Mercer , 6 David Denton , 5 Dave Attwood , 4 Charlie Ewels , 3 Henry Thomas , 2 Rob Webber ,1 Nathan Catt

Replacements : 16 Tom Dunn , 17 Max Lahiff , 18 David Wilson , 19 Dominic Day , 20 Levi Douglas , 21 Will Homer , 22 Max Clark , 23 Jeff Williams

Sale Sharks 

15. Mike Haley, 14. Will Addison, 13. Sam James, 12. Johnny Leota, 11. Nev Edwards, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Peter Stringer, 1. Ross Harrison, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Vadim Cobilas, 4. Bryn Evans, 5. Andrei Ostrikov, 6. TJ Ioane, 7. David Seymour (capt.), 8.Mark Easter.

Replacements: 16. Neil Briggs, 17. Eifion Lewis Roberts, 18. Brian Mujati, 19. Jonathan Mills, 20. Cameron Neild, 21. James Mitchell, 22. Joe Ford, 23. Tom Brady.

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