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Saints smash Sale to reach semi

03rd April 2014 20:28

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A four-try first-half blitz from Northampton Saints saw them run out comfortable 28-14 victors over Sale Sharks on Thursday, reaching the Challenge Cup semi-final.

Tries from Sam Dickinson, Ben Foden, and a brace from openside Ben Nutley - all converted by Will Hooley - were enough to see off a late Sharks rally.

It was the hosts, however, who struck first, with highly-rated prop Henry Thomas crashing over from close range early on, and Nick Macleod adding the extras.

The lead proved to be short-lived, as Nutley hit back off an unstoppable Saints maul minutes later, falling over the line for one of the easiest finishes you're likely to see in professional rugby. Hooley, bouncing back well from a disappointing display against Leicester Tigers last week, slotted the conversion.

There followed a disastrous twelve minute period for the hosts, whose pack were being outplayed and out-driven by the Saints eight. Dickinson powered over for try number two just before the half hour mark, before Hooley's deft grubber into the in-goal area was grounded by the onrushing Foden.

Thomas saw the flash of Romain Poite's yellow card as he infringed once too many at scrum-time, and things were to get yet worse for Steve Diamond's men as Nutley flopped over for what was almost a carbon copy of his first try.

Sale battled admirably in the second half, but failed to muster much in the way of meaningful attack. Viliami Fahiki was at the heart of the Sharks' drive, giving a frustrated home crowd hope of a comeback, but even the impressive James Craig's sin-binning late on could not yield further points for their side.

The Saints do indeed go marching on, as they secure a home semi-final and another potential shot at silverware against either Stade Franšais or Harlequins.

The scorers:

For Sale:
Tries: Thomas, Fahiki
Cons: Macleod, Ford
Yellow card: Thomas (repeated collapse of scrum)

For Northampton:
Tries: Nutley 2, Dickinson, Foden
Cons: Hooley 4
Yellow card: Craig (collapsing maul)

The teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Rob Miller, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Viliami Fahiki, 7 Mark Easter, 6 James Gaskell (capt), 5 Kirill Kulemin, 4 Andrei Ostrikov, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Aston Croall, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Michael Paterson, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Phil Mackenzie.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 James Wilson, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Fa'atoina Autagavaia, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 7 Ben Nutley, 6 Phil Dowson (c), 5 James Craig, 4 Sam Dickinson, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Ross McMillan, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Matti Williams, 17 Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Christian Day, 20 Teimana Harrison, 21 Kahn Fotuali'i, 22 Dom Waldouck, 23 Jamie Elliott.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Neil Paterson (Scotland)
TMO: Ian Ramage (Scotland)

  • Sale Sharks Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale vs London Irish14:00
Friday , November 21
Harlequins vs Sale19:45
Sunday , November 30
Newcastle vs Sale15:15
Saturday , December 20
Sale vs Exeter14:00
Saturday , December 27
Sale vs Leicester14:00
Sunday , January 4
Wasps vs Sale14:00
Saturday , January 10
Sale vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale15:15
Saturday , December 6
Sale vs Saracens13:00
Saturday , December 13
Saracens vs Sale17:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
  • Sale Sharks Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 18
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , October 11
Northampton 43 - 10 Sale SharksNorthampton vs Sale Sharks Report
Sunday , October 5
Sale 25 - 14 WaspsSale vs Wasps Report
Saturday , September 27
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale Sharks
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London Welsh
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale Sharks
Saturday , September 6
Sale Sharks 20 - 29 Bath
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
8Leicester Tigers614
9London Irish612
10Sale Sharks611
11Newcastle Falcons69
12London Welsh61