Sale down in-form Chiefs

Date published: December 19 2014

Second-half tries from Mark Cueto and Danny Cipriani helped Sale to an 18-11 win over Exeter Chiefs in Salford.

The win was enough to move the Sharks into the Aviva Premiership play-off places and continues their good recent domestic run.

Two Cipriani penalties to Gareth Steenson’s one gave the Sharks a deserved 6-3 lead at the interval in a half that was dominated by the Chiefs’ indiscipline.

They had two players sin-binned in the opening period but they managed to stay resolute despite constant pressure from the hosts.

However, they couldn’t turn the tide as, despite another Steenson three-pointer, tries from Cueto and Cipriani took the Manchester outfit 18-6 ahead.

Thomas Waldrom scored late on for Exeter to garner a losing bonus point but the Sharks held on for the victory.

Both these sides have shown impressive domestic form recently. While the visitors went into the game with seven wins in nine league matches, Sale have also produced some excellent results.

Three successive Premiership triumphs suggested that the Sharks were starting to produce the type of performances which saw them take sixth place last season.

That confidence was evident in the opening exchanges as Steve Diamond’s men dominated the forward confrontations in torrential conditions and Exeter struggled to deal with the pressure exerted.

The West Country outfit had Damian Welch and Ben White sin-binned in the first 15 minutes and Sale duly went 3-0 up through the boot of Cipriani.

However, they couldn’t make their numerical advantage count despite periods of good play with ball in hand and the hosts paid for their profligacy when Steenson levelled from the tee.

Still, the Manchester outfit were considerably the better side and another infringement from the Chiefs allowed Sale’s stand-off to kick them into a 6-3 advantage at the break.

Having gone into the second period just three points in arrears, Rob Baxter’s men appeared to have weathered the storm.

But it wasn’t to be as the Sharks continued to control proceedings and deservedly scored the first try through Cueto, after good work from the forwards and Cipriani.

Exeter hit back through a Steenson penalty but the home side extended their lead when an excellently worked move ended in their fly-half crossing the whitewash.

Everything seemed to be going awry for the Chiefs but they battled to secure a losing bonus point as, after Andrei Ostrikov was sin-binned, Waldrom touched down from close range.

The scorers:

For Sale:
Tries: Cueto, Cipriani
Cons: Cipriani
Pens: Cipriani 2
Yellow Card: Ostrikov

For Exeter:
Try: Waldrom
Pens: Steenson 2
Yellow Cards: Welch, White

The teams:

Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Josh Beaumont, 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Daniel Braid (c), 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jonathan Mills, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 James Flynn, 19 Andrei Ostrikov, 20 David Seymour, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Ben White, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Moray Low, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Sam Hill, 23 Adam Hughes

Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Referee: Wayne Barnes