Sale put Exeter to the sword

Date published: February 13 2016

Sale Sharks stretched their unbeaten home run to 10 matches after securing a 23-17 victory over Exeter Chiefs at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.

Three first half tries for the Sharks put them in the driving seat, but despite an impressive second half display, Exeter couldn't make their the most of their chances. 

An early yellow card for James Short proved costly, with the home side scoring two tries while the winger was in the sin-bin. 

The game started with Sale's Ross Harrison being sent to the sin bin inside six minutes, as he tackled Will Chudley after he'd taken a quick tap penalty. 

With thirteen minutes on the clock, both teams were down to fourteen men, with Exeter's Short being sent to the bin for tackling Will Addison in the air as they both went up to collect a Peter Stringer box kick. 

The Chiefs were made to pay for Short's absence, as Johnny Leota ran home unchallenged to score the game's first try, but a series of poor kicks from Danny Cipriani begun with him missing the conversion. 

Gareth Steenson then had the chance to open Exeter's account, as he pulled his penalty attempt wide of the posts. Moments before Short was due back on the pitch, a fast break from Sam James was finished off by Sale winger Neville Edwards to double their lead, before Cipriani missed the conversion again. 

Cipriani looked to redeem himself with a drop goal, but having missed the attempt fullback Mike Haley ran on to the loose ball to score Sale's third try of the game. This time, Cipriani managed to slot the conversion, taking the score to 17-0 at half-time. 

Exeter came out from the half time break with renewed hope, and after a period of sustained pressure prop Jack Yeandle carried the ball over the line to open the Chiefs' account. 

Steenson added the extras from the tee. Shortly after, Cipriani went for the posts from distance after Exeter were penalised for not rolling away, and converted successfully to take the score to 20-7. 

Replacement scrum-half Dave Lewis scored Exeter's second try of the game after 68 minutes, having picked the ball up from the back of a ruck before striding to the try line. 

Steenson slotted the conversion, but shortly after Cipriani added three more points from the tee for the Sharks. 

The game was rounded off by a sensational penalty from Steenson, taking three points from the tee from just inside his own half, before Cipriani missed a penalty with the final kick of the game. 

With six points the difference at the full time whistle, the Chiefs had to settle for a losing bonus point after a frustrating afternoon at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The result means Exeter lose further ground on Saracens at the top of the standings.

The scorers:

For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Leota, Edwards, Haley
Con: Cipriani
Pens: Cipriani 2
Yellow card: Harrison

For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Yeandle, Lewis
Con: Steenson 2
Pen: Steenson
Yellow card: Short

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Mark Easter, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Arscott

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Don Armand, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Jonny Hill, 3 Moray Low, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Ben Moon. 
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Will Hooley, 23 Max Bodilly

Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: Geoff Warren