SALE 14 SAINTS 28 As it happened

James Craig carries the Saints forward in Salford © Getty Images

Match Report SALE 14 SAINTS 28 As it happened

Franklin's Gardens will host a second semi-final in 2014 after the Saints racked up four first half tries in Salford to keep their Amlin Challenge Cup hopes going.

KO
The drizzle started before the warm up and hasn't dropped off as the teams come out. Difficult conditions, it's Hooley to get the game underway...
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1min
Saints recover the restart straight off the bat and a chance to get the ball through the hands isn’t wasted. Pisi looks to dink a kick round the outside but it bobbles into touch for a Sale lineout and the clearance is good.
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3mins
Foden can’t scoop up a pass from his bootlaces but despite a knock on, Saints have the ball back after Sale go early at the scrum. The decision is reversed at the reset though and this one is a penalty for the Sharks - knocked right into the corner by MacLeod.
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5mins
Sale try. Saints have to yank down a maul to halt Sale’s charge but Thomas is fed from the base and barges over.
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6mins
After his super penalty to the corner set the platform, MacLeod strikes another good kick for the extras of Thomas’ score.
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7mins
Mistake from the Sharks, who clear to touch long, but had carried back into their own 22. Saints take the lineout upfield and look to get their own drive going, van Velze in control of the ball.
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9mins
Big tackle from Easter forces the ball from Dowson’s grasp. Foden boots the ball back upfield though and Cliff slips a foot in touch when catching. Another Saints lineout - Sale yet to touch the ball but for their scoring lineout!
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11mins
Sale recover a Dickson box kick but Miller overcooks his kick and it bounds through the dead ball zone at the cost of about 55m. Saints scrum just inside halfway and drive out a penalty, one Hooley sends to touch.
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13mins
Saints are monopolising possession but are finding it hard to cling onto the ball in danger areas. This time van Velze is dispossessed on the floor and the visitors are pushed back to halfway.
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15mins
Good stuff from the Saints, led by Stephenson’s line break and some good handling from Hooley and Dickinson. The phases are racking up close to the Sharks line and when the penalty is drawn, Hooley pokes to the corner.
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17mins
SAINTS TRY!! Carbon copy of the score at the other end, albeit with the lineout drive converted by Nutley.
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18mins
Crisp strike from Hooley as well, Saints back on terms in Salford and dominating both territory and possession. Nutley’s score deserved reward for those efforts.
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20mins
Given conditions are far from ideal, Saints aren’t hesitating to put the ball through the hands. They’re also running hard and with Pisi putting Brady under pressure in the air, the Samoan then almost makes space out wide before his attempted offload is knocked to the ground.
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26mins
Good lineout ball from McMillan and Craig on halfway gives Saints another chance to play. van Velze is racking up the carries and while the visitors can’t recover Foden’s high bomb, a penalty is pinched on the ground.
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29mins
SAINTS TRY!! Another penalty from the lineout with Sale defenders going into the side of the maul. It’s another chance from 5m out and the drive first crabs sideways towards the posts before an unstoppable surge carries Dickinson over.
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30mins
Another two for Hooley from the tee. Saints are cranking up the pressure and most importantly, putting points on the board while they are on top. McMillan throwing dead eye darts in the line out, too.
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31mins
We’ve got a yoyo battle going on in the scrum, Saints this time getting the nod on Mercey’s side as the Sharks go early. Booming penalty to touch from Wilson puts the men in BG&G right back into the red zone.
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34mins
SAINTS TRY!!! Super-smart work from Dickson, who feigns the box before feeding Pisi and the winger flies clear before recovering his own delicious chip. Hooley goes one better with an exquisite grubber through, Foden grounds and Saints have a third. Hooley again converts.
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36mins
Classy contributions from Dickson, Ken and Hooley there - the Saints’ scrum-half in particular has looked lively tonight and is only stopped from taking a quick tap when Thomas is shown a yellow for another scrum infringement. Waller getting stuck in to the tight-head.
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37mins
SAINTS TRY!!!! This Saints maul is simply rampant. Nutley is driven over again and while there are no bonus points on offer, the court his a real bonus score before half-time.
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39mins
Hooley curls over another to stay at 100% for the evening. Nutley now on for a hat-trick after his second armchair ride of the night. Somewhere at the AJ Bell Stadium Dorian West is beaming.
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HT
That’s an excellent 40 of rugby from the Saints. The forwards are busy grabbing the headlines - and rightly so - but the backs have played their part too and produced the score of the night for Foden. Simple team talk: more of the same, please.
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40mins
Second half begins, Sale a man down for another 5 minutes...
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41mins
Penalty for a high tackle on Stephenson by Gaskell. Saints will go for drive over #4.
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42mins
For the first time a lack of control from the Saints, despite winning the lineout. Sale make good with their clearance and Saints are back on their own 22 pretty sharpish.
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43mins
Premature end to Stephenson’s evening and the young centre is replaced by Waldouck. Mercey has also left the field with a knock, Denman on at tight-head.
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45mins
Saints are right on top in the scrum now and referee Poite awards another penalty. Wilson will give the forwards another go at the Saints line. Thomas is back from the bin.
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47mins
Another disappointing end in an attacking position. Saints knock on and Sale can clear from the base of a solid scrum for the first time in a while.
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49mins
Looks like more rough luck for Waldouck, who gets trapped under a breakdown and requires lengthy treatment before being stretchered from the field. Saints forced into a reshuffle, Elliott coming on at 13 and Wilson moving across to inside centre.
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50mins
First highlight of the half comes from Autagavaia, who sees off four Sharks defenders to surge forward. Elliott looks to free his arms but his pass doesn’t quite find the mark.
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53mins
It might be a Thursday evening, but the Saints Nation have, as always, travelled in vast numbers. They pipe up again looking to get their side motoring in this second half but neither side has managed to string together a period of pressure.
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56mins
First arrow of the night goes astray from McMillan and Saints then go off their feet in midfield. Chance for Sale to establish their driving maul again.
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58mins
No hat-trick for Nutley who is replaced by Harrison. Sale go perilously close and while Saints’ fringe defenders drive Harrison into touch, there’s another penalty coming.
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60mins
Pressure relieved as Craig pinches the lineout but it’s still the hosts with the ball as Foden kicks clear.
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62mins
Much like a fortnight ago, no points so far in the second half. That of course is suiting the Saints this time as we head into the final quarter.
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65mins
Changes in the Saints front row, Hobbs-Awoyemi and Williams on for European debuts. Waller and McMillan depart after each putting in big shifts.
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67mins
First chance for Foden to run and he makes good ground, splitting two chasers and chipping forwards. Fowles cleans up well though and his clearance finds touch.
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71mins
Let’s not beat around the bush - it’s been a pretty dull second half. No excitement is ok, though Sale are looking to give themselves a late chance close to the Saints line.
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73mins
Fotuali’i is going to get 7mins at the end and his first job will be to get stuck into a defensive effort. It’s been an evening for the maul though and Sale drive on over for Fihaki. Glimmer of hope for the Sharks. Ford crucially converts
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75mins
Sale looking to run from everywhere but Gaskell makes the mistake of taking his eye off the ball and gifts Saints a scrum 15m out. Dickson lasers a pass wide but it’s not within Pisi’s grasp. Clock down to 3:40.
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77mins
Saints will finish this game a man light, Craig yellow carded for pulling down a maul. Will Greenwood meanwhile picks out Ethan Waller as man of the match having seen the loose head boss England man Thomas in the scrum. Powerful performance from the Saints number one.
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FT
Home semi-final booked, Saints back to winning ways after an utterly dominant first half.Two tries for Nutley and one each for Dickinson and Foden did the damage, while Hooley also enjoyed a perfect afternoon from the tee.
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TIMELINE
5mins SALE Try Thomas Con MacLeod 7-0
17mins SAINTS Try Nutley Con Hooley 7-7
29mins SAINTS Try Dickinson Con Hooley 7-14
34mins SAINTS Try Foden Con Hooley 7-14
36mins SALE Yellow Thomas
38mins SAINTS Try Nutley Con Hooley 7-28
HALF-TIME SALE 7 SAINTS 28
74mins SALE Try Fihaki Con Ford 14-28
FULL-TIME SALE SAINTS

SALE: Arscott; Brady, Forsyth, Jennings, Miller; MacLeod, Cliff; Harrison, Taylor, Thomas, Ostrikov, Kulemin, Gaskell (capt), Easter, Fihaki

Reps: Jones, Croall, Buckley, Mills, Paterson, Fowles, Ford, Mackenzie

SAINTS: Foden; K Pisi, Wilson, Stephenson, Autagavaia; Hooley, Dickson; E Waller, McMillan, Mercey, Dickinson, Craig, Dowson (capt), Nutley, van Velze

Reps: Williams, Hobbs-Awoyemi, Denman, Day, Harrison, Fotuali’i, Waldouck, Elliott

Amlin Man of the Match: Ethan Waller

Referee: Romain Poite

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