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ACADEMY REPORT Sharks hold on to frustrate Saints

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Three first half tries catapulted the hosts into a 19-0 lead and while Tom Collins before the break and Howard Packman twice after responded, the Saints ran out of minutes on the clock.


Straight from the kick Sale looked like a completely different team to when the two teams met last - a Saints win some five weeks earlier at Heywood Road.


The Sharks held much of the first half possession, although Saints had their chances too - Sam Olver missing a penalty kick and Josh Skelcey stopped some 10 metres shy of Sale's try line by some strong defence.


They would be rewarded with the first try of the game from a line out in Saints' 22. Quick passing was followed by a rapid break from Tim Jeffers who glided through Saints' defence and over the whitewash.


Sales next two tries came after a pair of quick penalties caught the Saints pack on their heels, the opportune scores opening up a 19-point lead before even half an hour had been played..


It could have been worse, with Sale's Mike Haley shrugging off Saints players and slipping through and over the line but play was pulled back by the referee, who spotted an infringement from the home side in the build-up.


Just before half time Saints finally kicked into gear, impressive passing and vision from Tom Stephenson setting up Collins' score, though at 19-5 the visitors had it all to do in the second 40.


They certainly gave it their all and after the Sharks stretched their advantage with a penalty, Packman skinned opposite number Sam Broster to take his side into double figures and within two scores.


Again though the visitors were forced into conceding a penalty and with the gap moved out to 15 points with 15 minutes on the clock, two scores from the Saints were needed just for the losing bonus.


Yet with Sale holding strong until the final moments of the game, Packman's second of the afternoon - along with Harry Mallinder's conversion - were little more than consolation and Sale had avenged their December defeat.


TIMELINE

11mins SALE Try Jeffers Con Deakin 7-0

20mins SALE Try 12-0

27mins SALE Try + Con 19-0

30mins SAINTS Try Collins 19-5

HALF-TIME SALE 19 SAINTS 5

44mins SALE Pen 22-5

51mins SAINTS Try Packman 22-10

55mins SALE Pen 25-10

70mins SAINTS Try Packman Con Mallinder 25-17

FULL-TIME SALE 25 SAINTS 17

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