Sale Sharks in ‘do or die’ situation after win over Exeter Chiefs

David Skippers
Ben Curry Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs Premiership 2024 - Alamy.jpg

Sale Sharks flanker Ben Curry takes on the Exeter Chiefs defence.

Ben Curry admitted that Sale Sharks are in a “do or die” situation to make the Premiership play-offs after they sealed a 41-5 win over Exeter Chiefs on Sunday.

Curry is looking forward to what the rest of the season might bring for his team after they returned to winning ways in the Premiership against Exeter Chiefs.

The Sharks sealed an emphatic victory at the Salford Community Stadium with Tom Roebuck leading the way with a hat-trick of tries.

First Premiership win in 2024

The result ends Sale’s six-match losing streak in all competitions and it was their first triumph in the Premiership since they clinched a home win against Saracens last December.

Sunday’s bonus-point victory over Exeter means they are back in the race for a Premiership play-off spot. Only five points separate third-placed Sarries and the Sharks, who are in eighth position, in the standings.

With just four rounds of matches left for the league phase of the competition, Curry admitted that all of Sale’s remaining games are “do or die” matches if they want to advance to the play-offs.

“We have backed ourselves into a corner so realistically it was do or die in every game as we had no other option,” he said. “It’s really exciting now to think what we might do.”

Gus Warr, Raffi Quirke and former Chiefs stalwart Luke Cowan-Dickie also crossed the whitewash for Sale while George Ford added four conversions and a penalty, with the visitors’ only points scored by Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, who dotted down early in the second half.

Sale’s director of rugby Alex Sanderson was delighted with the result but felt his team could have registered an even bigger win.

“I’m really proud of the boys and their effort and if I’m being hypercritical, I was disappointed with our execution in the final 10 minutes as we left a couple of scores out there,” he said.

“In recent games a bit of our defence has been optional to say the least and we stressed that we had to recognise what our DNA is and today our defence was spot on.

England hopeful scores hat-trick as Sale Sharks hammer Exeter Chiefs

“The next four weeks in the Premiership will separate the wheat from the chaff and it’s important that you are in form as it’s going to be a really tough end to the season.

“We had some of our bigger bangers back today and people have pigeon-holed us as just bangers, but I think we showed some cute handling and attacking flair out there.”

Exeter came into Sunday’s encounter in a confident mood as they had won 13 of their previous 16 matches against Sale and a victory could have elevated them into the top two of the Premiership table.

Exeter boss left disappointed

However, their defeat means they occupy sixth position in the standings and their director of rugby, Rob Baxter, couldn’t hide his disappointment after the game.

“It was the first half that really disappointed me as we allowed Sale to play exactly the game they wanted by slowing the game down,” he said.

“So many little things went wrong including giving away silly little penalties, needlessly pushing people in the back, and all these errors allowed Sale easy field position.”

He added: “We were off today in too many areas to give ourselves any realistic chance of winning as every time we lost the ball, we followed it up by giving away a penalty.

“We were shell-shocked at half-time but we grouped and with 15 or 20 minutes to go, I thought we had a realistic chance of getting a bonus point.

“However, we have to take our hiding and move on as there are days when you get it wrong.”

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