Sale hold on against Leicester

Date published: October 1 2016

Sale Sharks held off a Leicester fightback at the AJ Bell Stadium to secure a bonus-point 34-30 win in the Premiership.

Two tries from Tigers centre Peter Betham were countered by Mike Phillips, Paolo Odogwu and Johnny Leota as Sale went in 24-20 to the good.

Halani Aulika stretched the lead after the break, though his yellow saw Adam Thompstone reduce the gap to one point. But a late Addison penalty saw Sale finish 34-30 winners.

Looking to win three away games in a row for the first time since 2014, Leicester had the nightmare start at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Sharks opened the scoring six minutes in courtesy of Phillips, who nipped through a ruck to touch over the line. The conversion came through the boot of Will Addison, striking through from in front of the posts.

The hosts lead was soon taken away though, with two quick Tigers tries turning the momentum their way. The first try from the visitors was well worked, with Betham going through.

After winning the lineout on the left hand side, possession was exchanged between four players, with Betham having the final say over in the right hand corner. Owen Williams slotted the kick through, and the duo were back in the points minutes later. 

Betham grabbed his second from Brendon O'Connor's inside ball, powering through bodies and grounding underneath the posts to quickly turn fortunes around. Williams converted again, putting Leicester 14-7 ahead.

Williams was in the points again from the restart, kicking three more points through from halfway to take the lead to double figures.

It was a frantic first 20, but there was still plenty to come before the break. Addison scored his first penalty of the afternoon to cut the lead back to seven, a lead which was soon wiped out completely.

Odogwu came back to haunt his former side with the fourth try of an all-action opening, taking advantage of a strong lineout. Addison added two, and Sale soon had their lead back.

Leota then dived over after a ruck from close range, Addison again making no mistake. Williams narrowed the deficit to four and though they had chances before the break, Tigers went in 24-20 down.

Williams was back in points scoring action in the second half, reducing the Sale lead to one with a penalty from 22. But Sharks soon stretched that lead again with their fourth try.

A long spell of pressure on the Tigers try line eventually saw the points arrive, Aulika profiting after an original scrum came to nothing. Conversion number four followed, the lead back up to eight. Williams missed the next opportunity, firing wide from a penalty as time began to slip away from Richard Cockerill's men.

But a yellow card for Aulika allowed Tigers back into it, and they grabbed another try two minutes after finding themselves a man in front.

A lineout drive was forced into the centre, but Thompstone worked himself into space before going over in the corner. He managed to hold off two challenges before going over just inside the line, Williams cutting the gap to a single point with eight minutes to play.

Addison though put the lead back to four though as the clock ran down, and Sale secured the points.

The scorers:

For Sale:
Tries: Phillips, Odogwu, Leota, Aulika
Cons: Addison 4
Pens: Addison 2
Yellow Card: Aulika

For Leicester:
Tries: Betham 2, Thompstone
Cons: Williams 3
Pens: Williams 3

Sale Sharks: 15 Byron McGuigan, 14 Nev Edwards, 13 Will Addison, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Paolo Odogwu, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Josh Beaumont (c), 7 David Seymour, 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Jonathan Mills, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Ross Harrison 
Replacements: 16 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 17 Halani Aulika, 18 Andrei Ostrikov, 19 Laurence Pearce, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Dan Mugford, 23 Sam Bedlow

Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veauinu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Mathew Tait, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Owen Williams 9 Ben Youngs,8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Ed Slater (c), 3 Dan Cole, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Ellis Genge 
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Greg Bateman, 19 Dom Barrow, 20 Graham Kitchener, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 George Worth, 23 Matt Smith

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys 
Assistant Referees: Wayne Falla, Peter Allan
TMO: Geoff Warren