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Northampton Saints earned a bonus point 26-11 victory over Sale Sharks in the Aviva Premiership at Franklins Gardens.
Northampton outscored Sale by four tries to one and they move to sixth while the Sharks are in 8th place.
A try from Bryn Evans helped Sale to a 11-point lead on the half-hour mark. However, a deliberate knock-on from the same man saw him sent to the sin-bin before Northampton’s Mike Haywood capitalised with a try at the end of the half to keep the sides locked closely together.
Sale continued their comeback early on in the second half with Ken Pisi and Tom Collins scoring a try apiece to put the game to bed within the first ten minutes of the half. The hosts were in control throughout the second half and JJ Hanrahan added another try in the dying embers of the match for a bonus point.
The victory means that Northampton rise into the top four, leapfrogging Leicester, and now have 46 points. The Sharks, meanwhile, slip to eighth in the table.
Sale took the lead with the first try of the match in the 20th minute. Evans awarded the try after review by the TMO following his touch down in the corner. Danny Cipriani missed the conversion but atoned just minutes later, scoring a penalty after Paul Hill’s failure to roll away from a tackle. In the 28th minute, the visitors stretched their lead to eleven points with a long-range penalty from Tom Arscott.
Evans went from hero to villain in the 37th minute, the try-scorer was shown a yellow card by referee JP Doyle for a deliberate knock on. A minute later Saints hooker Haywood pushed over the line to score a try and help the hosts establish a foothold in the match. Stephen Myler converted to make the half-time score 7-11.
Northampton came flying out of the blocks in the second half, Ken Pisi scoring in the left-hand coner after a patient build-up in the 46th minute. Myler kicked the extras and the hosts led.
This lead was stretched in the 49th minute, Tom Collins the man to score on this occasion, latching onto an excellent Lee Dickson offload to score. Myler converted once again to make the score 21-11. In the 54th minute Northampton’s George Pisi was yellow carded for blocking a Sale runner as he tried to get the ball.
The final score of the match came through the hands of Saints’ Hanrahan in the 78th minute of the match following a driving lineout. Harry Mallinder missed his conversion making the final score 26-11.
Final Score Northampton Saints 26 (7) Sale Sharks 11 (11)
Tries – Haywood, K Pisi, Collins, Hanrahan
Con – Myler (3)
Tries – Evans
Pen – Cipriani, Arscott
Referee : JP Doyle (108th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe & Roger Baileff.
TMO: David Sainsbury.
15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Craig, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Jon Fisher, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Harry Mallinder.
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. Bryn Evans, 5. Andrei Ostrikov, 6. Cameron Neild, 7. David Seymour, 8. TJ Ioane
Replacements: 16. Neil Briggs, 17. Eifion Lewis Roberts, 18. Brian Mujati, 19. Jonathan Mills, 20. Magnus Lund, 21. Chris Cusiter, 22. Joe Ford, 23. Mark Jennings
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