Sale secured their place in next season’s Champions Cup after they beat Newcastle 21-15 at Sandy Park on Saturday.
With Sale looking for victory in order to finish their season in style and secure a Champions Cup spot, it was an open start to the game until Sale took the lead.
Coming 11 minutes in, David Seymour had the ball in hand at the end of a driving maul, with Danny Cipriani missing the kick on his final appearance with Sharks.
They were at it again from kick-off and saw a try chalked off after the TMO interfered. Cipriani added three more points however after Peter Stringer was wiped out without possession.
But Falcons bounced right back into the game and their first try came with a man who was to grab a hat-trick. A driving maul culminated in Nili Latu grounding, though the conversion didn’t find its target.
It was Sharks turn next to go over after 25 minutes. After a knock-on and scrum, Sam James nipped over in the corner to stretch the lead a little further. Cipriani’s conversion made it 5-15. Newcastle dragged themselves back into it five minutes before the break, coming after another 13 man maul.
Latu was again the man with ball in hand, the kick at the posts wide from Mike Delany. Eight minutes into the second half, Latu completed his hat-trick and levelled proceedings.
For the third time he was a part of a maul and got himself over the line to single handedly level the tie. Delany missed the kick again though before Sale started to take off.
Joe Ford’s penalty gave the visitors back their lead, one which they never lost. Falcons pressed and caused real problems at times, though the Sharks defended superbly knowing victory would be enough for a Champions Cup spot.
Another Ford kick took the lead to six, though it was nervy late on. But for a Neil Briggs turnover, Newcastle would have had a free run at the line. But incredible team work saw Sharks over the line and finished their season with victory.
Tries: Latu 3
Tries: Seymour, James
Pens: Ford 2 Cipriani
Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Michael Young, 8 Nili Latu (c), 7 Dan Temm, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Will Witty, 4 Calum Green, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Kane Thompson, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Belisario Agulla
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 TJ Ioane 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Mark Easter, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Tim Wigglesworth, John Meredith
TMO: Graham Hughes