Planet Rugby

Saints see off sloppy Sale

30th November 2012 21:50

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Tom May of Northampton Saints

Northampton: Condemned Sale to their ninth Premiership defeat

The arrival of John Mitchell had no immediate galvanising effect on Sale as they slumped to a 27-16 defeat by Northampton.

With players returning from international duty, and the return of Ben Foden at full back from an injury lay-off, Saints coach Jim Mallinder saw his side win their third game in a row.

Mitchell watched his new side in action for the first time, and saw them second best in the scrum and the driving maul.

Three first-half tries gave the Saints a buffer against a second half Sale fightback, as the Sharks scored 13 unanswered second half points.

Late changes to Sale's original starting line-up saw Danny Cipriani withdrawn with an illness, while Jonny Leota hadn't recovered fully from a concussion.

Ryan Lamb kicked off into the dense fog, and took the first penalty of the night in front of the posts after five minutes to get the ball rolling for the Saints.

Nick Macleod pulled a goal back on 16, just two minutes before Saints winger Jamie Elliott raced down his line to score the first try of the night, evading any attempts to catch him.

Despite the Sharks trying to break Northampton's line, strong running from prop Soane Tonga'uiha again evaded any Sale attempts to stop his charge to the line, as he added a second try for Northampton 23 minutes in.

With two conversions from Lamb, and a well worked drop goal from the fly-half, Northampton piled on the misery for Sale.

Just as half-time was looming, Sale were working their way up field, but a misplaced pass from Macleod found its way to Tom May, who ran from the Sale 10m line to dot down for the last play of the half.

Lamb's third conversion saw Saints go into half-time with a commanding 27-3 lead.

Sale started strongly in the second half, with a great move that ended with Rob Miller's try on 44 minutes. The ball was played along their line after a break through the Saints defensive line, and they sought the gap that eventually came on Miller's wing.

Although Macleod missed the conversion, he added a second penalty soon after, as part of a fight back that Mitchell had urged his side on to.

Fresh legs in the Sale front line saw them stem the Northampton tide in the scrum, and this freshness paid off, as Tommy Taylor drove over the line with only two minutes to play.

Referee Llyr ApGeraint Roberts referred the decision to his TMO, and with a missed conversion, the game ended with Sale rooted to the bottom of the table, five points behind nearest rivals London Irish.

The scorers:

For Sale:
Tries: Miller, Taylor
Pens: Macleod 2

For Northampton:
Tries: Elliott, May, Tonga'uiha
Cons: Lamb 3
Pen: Lamb
Drop: Lamb

Sale Sharks: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Andy Powell, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Rob Miller.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Ryan Lamb. 9 Martin Roberts, 8 GJ van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Rhys Oakley, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Tom May.

Referee: Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts

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