Danny Cipriani scored 21 points to help Sale Sharks beat London Wasps 26-22 at AJ Bell Stadium on Friday.
Danny Cipriani scored 21 points to help Sale Sharks beat London Wasps 26-22 in their Premiership game at AJ Bell Stadium on Friday.
Sharks earned their first home victory of the season to leave the visitors winless in three starts this term.
The return of Cipriani to the Sharks line-up, as a first-half replacement for Nick Macleod, saw Sale open up play after an opening period which was punctured by handling errors and reset scrums.
Sale had the better of the opening phase of the game, although Wasps' Sam Jones was potent with his runs at the Sharks defensive line.
Cipriani's introduction for the injured Macleod after only 20 minutes compounded the home side's injury-hit squad, as James Gaskell and Dwayne Peel succumbed to late call-offs in the build-up to the game.
But the replacement fly-half kicked his side into the lead, with a penalty only minutes after entering the play.
That only lasted a matter of seconds as Andy Goode kicked Wasps level, before Mark Cueto's burst into the Wasps half brought a sustained period of pressure on the Wasps line, including a drive over the line which failed to score, after the TMO adjudged the ball to have been held up.
Premiership record try scorer Cueto eventually powered through to score, after a neat reverse pass from Cipriani, and after the conversion, Sale led 10-3.
With another successful Cipriani penalty a minute before the break, Sale took a ten point advantage into half-time.
The home side started well in the second half, with Cipriani diving over for his first try of the season after 47 minutes, and with the conversion, Sale led 20-3.
But Wasps were able to come back with a try of their own, and after a great driving maul, Ashley Johnson was able to drop down. With Goode converting, the difference was back to ten points. Cipriani's third penalty of the night – a kick from the Wasps ten metre line – stretched the lead once more, with twenty minutes to play.
Wasps were given a lifeline with a converted penalty try, after a maul was brought down, and with a six point difference, the visiting side had the possibility of a first win of the season in their sights.
After the Wasps back line stretched the Sale defence, Josh Bassett was able to go over in the corner, but Goode missed the conversion attempt, and with it, the chance for their first win of the season.
That near-miss galvanised Sale, who held on to the majority of possession for the remainder of the game long enough to earn a last-minute penalty which that man Cipriani duly converted, leaving Wasps looking up at the rest of the pack with three losses from three.
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Cueto, Cipriani
Cons: Cipriani 2
Pens: Cipriani 4
For London Wasps:
Tries: Johnson, Penalty try, Bassett
Cons: Goode 2
Sale Sharks: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Rob Miller, 13 Mark Cueto, 12 Andy Forsyth, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (capt), 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Kirill Kulemin, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Eifion Lewis Roberts, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Johnathan Mills, 20 Josh Beaumont, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Danny Cipriani, 23 Phil Mackenzie.
London Wasps: 15 Andrea Masi, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Chris Bell (capt), 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Sam Jones, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Jake Cooper-Wooley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 James Cannon, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Tommy Bell.
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant referees: Kevin Stewart, Gareth Copsey
Television match official: Trevor Fisher