Exeter top Premiership after Sale Sharks victory

Jack Nowell tries to cut through Sale Sharks defence

Exeter Chiefs went to the top of the Aviva Premiership standings after beating Sale Sharks 33-17 at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Exeter Chiefs outscored Sale Sharks by five tries to two but fly-half Gareth Steenson had an off day with the boot which helped keep Sale in the match.

A slow start to the game meant it took 11 minutes for Danny Cipriani to open the scoring, giving Sale a three-point lead from the tee.

Seven minutes later Exeter took the lead, as the TMO gave the verdict that Thomas Waldrom’s try was legitimate, but a day of poor kicking from Steenson saw him miss his first attempt.

Will Chudley then extended Exeter’s lead soon after, as he found a gap in the Sale defence to carry it home. Steenson’s second shot at goal also flew wide in the wind.

Sale’s Will Addison touched down to bring his side back in to the tie, with Cipriani’s conversion bringing Sale level after half an hour.

Six minutes in to the second half Josh Beaumont put Sale ahead in windy Devon, with his father Bill watching on from the stands, and Cipriani converted once more.

As Exeter looked to fight back in order to take them to the top of the Premiership, Chudley scored his second try of the game, but Steenson’s third attempt failed to add the extras once again.

With 54 minutes on the clock, Sale failed to release the ball from a ruck and gave Steenson a chance to slot his first points of the game – an opportunity he finally took to take the Devon side in to an 18-17 lead.

Going in to the final ten minutes, Exeter’s James Short secured the bonus point and extended the lead for the home side after having a try disallowed earlier in the game.

Steenson found his feet at converted to take his side beyond a one-score margin. After a short break in play, Exeter maintained their attacking impetus and scored a fifth try through Tom Johnson, but Steenson yet again failed to convert in windy conditions.

A day to forget for Sale ended with full-back Mike Haley seeing yellow, as Exeter took themselves to the top of the Aviva Premiership having played one game more than the chasing Saracens.

Final Score Exeter Chiefs 33 (10) Sale Sharks 17 (10)

Scorers

Exeter
Tries: Waldrom, Chudley 2, Short, Johnson
Con: Steenson
Pens: Steenson, Hooley

Sale
Tries: Addison, Beaumont
Cons: Cipriani 2
Pen: Cipriani
Yellow Card: Haley

Match Officials
Referee : Dean Richards (83rd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce & Andrew Pearce.
TMO: Geoff Warren.

Teams

Exeter Chiefs

15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 1 Ben Moon, 2 Jack Yeandle (capt), 3 Tomas Francis, 4 Mitch Lees, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Don Armand, 7 Julian Salvi, 8 Thomas Waldrom

Replacements : 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Moray Low, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Will Hooley, 23 Michele Campanaro,

Sale Sharks

15. Mike Haley, 14. Tom Arscott, 13. Sam James, 12. Sam Tuitupou, 11. Will Addison, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Peter Stringer, 1. Ross Harrison, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Vadim Cobilas, 4. Jonathan Mills, 5. Bryn Evans, 6. Dan Braid (capt.), 7. TJ Ioane, 8. Josh Beaumont

Replacements: 16. Cameron Neild, 17. Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18. Brian Mujati, 19. Andrei Ostrikov, 20. Mark Easter, 21. Chris Cusiter, 22. Joe Ford, 23. Mark Jennings.

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