Saints score four tries in an impressive whole team effort at the AJ Bell to secure an away win against Sale Sharks.
With the backs putting the ball into the right areas of the field, the forwards working ahrd in contact and Stephen Myler on the money with the boot, Saints racked up a bonus point victory over their hosts for their first win on the road since beating Gloucester by only one point on New Year’s Day.
Early pressure from the hosts saw two mauls come close to the line in the opening ten minutes but it was a chip and dash by Sale’s Denny Solomona that proved to be the first real chance of the night for either side. His kick went dead, however, and Saints had the scrum on their own 22 instead.
Still no score came for either side until the 28th minute. Saints were pressurising in their hosts 22 when quick hands and a lovely tap pass from Harry Mallinder to Ken Pisi saw an easy dive in for the winger.
With the wind in their sails, Saints pushed their hosts again and got back in contention quickly. The forwards, working hard, barged their way over the whitewash only to be held up. Or so the referee Thomas Foley originally thought but on consideration from the TMO the score was given, Michael Paterson claiming Saints’ second. Myler added the extras to see Saints 12 to the good.
The home side, not content with the scoreline, pushed themselves and a clever chip through found Josh Charnley’s hands to get Sale off the mark, the conversion from Sam James following.
Myler added three more points to Saints’ total for the night with the last play of the first half to give Saints an 8-point lead as the game went into the break.
A good attack from Saints in the second half’s opening minutes got them well within Sale’s 22 but the ball was lost forwards, the chance lost and the second half began to proceed at the first had begun: scoreless.
But then Saints began to power forwards again and Haywood rode a maul from the back of a lineout in for Saints’ third. Myler added the extras again to see Saints go 15 points ahead.
A penalty from Myler on the turn of the final quarter sent Saints even further ahead. But Sale came back into it with a score of their own through Bryn Evans after good pressure from the home side in Saints’ 22. James missed the conversion, however, and Saints maintained a 13-point lead.
A huge kick to touch from Myler saw Saints in attacking territory again and patience from the travelling side eventually got them the bonus point score. Ethan Waller darted through a gap in Sale’s line and Myler added the extras with the last play of the game to see Saints collect the full league points at the AJ Bell.
SAINTS Tuala; Pisi, Tuitavake, Mallinder, Foden, Myler, Groom; A Waller, Haywood, Brookes, Paterson, Craig, , Gibson, Clark, Harrison
Subs – Clare, E Waller, Hill, Ratuniyarawa, Dickinson, Dickson, Estelles, Wilson
SALE Haley; Solomona, Leota, Jennings, Charnley, James, Phillips; Harrison, Webber, Aulika, Evans, Mills, Neild, Lund, Beaumont
Subs – T Curry, Flynn, Longbottom, Nott, B Curry, Stringer, Mugford, McGuigan
28mins SAINTS Try Pisi 0-5
34mins SAINTS Try Paterson Con Myler 0-12
37mins SALE Try Charnely Con James 7-12
39mins SAINTS Pen Myler 7-15
HALF TIME Sale 7 Saints 15
54mins SAINTS Try Haywood Con Myler 7-22
61mins SAINTS Pen Myler 7-25
69mins SALE Try Evans 12-25
80mins SAINTS Try E Waller Con Myler 12-32
FULL TIME Sale 12 Saints 32