Saints sink Sharks to end AJ Bell Stadium hoodoo

Saints produced a superb away performance to end their AJ Bell Stadium hoodoo in style on Friday night.

Friday, 3rd March 2017, 10:14 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:57 am
Saints got stuck into Sale to record an impressive away win (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Jim Mallinder's men scored four times to earn a bonus-point 32-12 victory, which was their first in the league at Sale since November, 2012.

Michael Paterson scored against his former club, with he and Mike Haywood, who bagged his eighth try of the season, adding to Ken Pisi's opener.

And prop Ethan Waller powered over in the final play of the game to secure the maximum haul.

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Stephen Myler kicked 12 points to put gloss on an impressive display from Mallinder's men, who cemented sixth spot and moved to just three points behind Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership standings.

Sale struggled to produce any fireworks in front of their home fans, and they only had efforts from Josh Charnley and Bryn Evans to show for their efforts.

Saints were always in control of the game after Pisi's 28th-minute try and they built on it to bag a brilliant and crucial league win.

Sale had applied plenty of early pressure, continually kicking to the corner in pursuit of an early try.

Saints were shipping penalties, but they managed to hold out before Denny Solomona almost caught them cold with a quick break and a couple of kicks ahead.

The opening 25 minutes were nip and tuck, with the game largely played in the middle of the pitch.

Both teams were probing for openings and it was Saints who struck first after the ball fell in their favour.

Ben Foden picked up the bouncing ball and after the it was worked wide, with Harry Mallinder playing a key final pass, Pisi pounced to open the scoring.

Myler missed the conversion from out wide, but Saints were to grab another try before the break.

Lock Paterson popped up and stretched out and arm to dot down against his former club.

Myler converted and the half was suddenly going swimmingly for Saints, but they weren't able to hold out as Sale responded before the break.

Wing Charnley latched on to a kick ahead to score, with Sam James converting to cut the Saints lead to five points.

But Myler slotted a penalty with the final kick of the half to make it an eight-point gap at the interval.

The second half started with both sides struggling to keep hold of the slippery ball in attack, giving the defences some respite after spells of pressure.

But Saints managed to put together a big drive from a lineout, with Haywood the man on the end of it.

It was turning into an accomplished away display from Saints, with Myler again adding the extras and Mallinder's men now hunting the bonus point.

They soon had another three points to their name as after the forwards smashed Sale in the scrum, Myler slotted the penalty from in front of the posts.

Sale needed some hope and lock Evans provided it as he put his head down and charged towards the line to score.

The conversion was missed, leaving Sale 25-12 down with 11 minutes to go, and the home side couldn't produce anything else of note.

Fittingly, Saints had the final word as Myler's inside pass found replacement Waller, who made his way over the line for the crucial bonus-point score.

Myler converted to put the seal on a hugely impressive performance.

Sale Sharks: Haley (McGuigan 57); Solomona, Leota, Jennings, Charnley; James, Phillips (Stringer 25); Harrison (Flynn 68), Webber, Aulika (Longbottom 68); Evans, Mills (Nott 57); Neild (B Curry 59), Lund (T Curry 49), Beaumont (c).

Saints: Tuala; K Pisi, Tuitavake (Estelles 61), Mallinder, Foden (c); Myler, Groom (Dickson 71); A Waller (E Waller 71), Haywood (Clare 75), Brookes (Hill 61); Paterson (Ratuniyarawa 75), Craig; Gibson, Clark (Dickinson 66), Harrison.

Referee: Tom Foley