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SALE 20 SAINTS 24 Late try keeps Cup hopes alive

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Northampton Saints clinched their second Anglo-Welsh Cup victory in dramatic fashion, scoring with the last play of the game against a resilient Sale Sharks.

Three second half tries from Ken Pisi, Ben Nutley and Nafi Tuitavake were enough to secure the third win of 2018 for Saints. 

The game swayed back and forth between the two sides, with both taking the lead on various occasions before a nail-biting finish saw Tuitavake snatch the victory from Sale and avenge Saints' narrow 18-15 loss in Manchester earlier in the season.

The Mancunian side came very close to scoring the opening try of the game, but a fantastic tackle from Nutley kept the scoreboard clean until the final moments of the first 40.

It was eventually Sale who broke the deadlock, as numerous phases proved too much for Saints, and Sam Moore reached around the ruck to give the home side the lead before Will Addison sent a penalty through the posts at the close of the half. 

Regrouping well over the break, it was Saints who were first off the mark. Pisi led the comeback, charging down the right wing for the score with Grayson's conversion closing the gap to just a point.

And Saints continued to push. Cobus Reinach and Tuitavake both produced two stunning runs through the heart of Sale defence, before leaving Nutley to do the honours and further the lead with Saints' second of the afternoon.

Sale weren’t done yet though, and managed to close the gap through a try from Luke James to leave themselves just a point behind. 

With Grayson sending a penalty through the posts to close things, the intensity heightened and a relentless attack from Sale eventually paid off when Marc Jones crossed on the back of a maul. 

With the clock well beyond the 80th minute, Saints kept pushing for the line with over 15 phases inside the Sale 22, gradually getting closer to the line.  

The ruthless attack paid off, and Tuitavake scored the match winning try to secure the second Anglo-Welsh win of the season for Northampton in dramatic fashion, and leave Saints top of their group with ten points.

TEAMS

SAINTS Tuala; Pisi, Tuitavake, Stephenson, Collins; Myler, Reinach; Van Wyk, Marshall, Brookes, Ratuniyarawa, Day (capt), Ribbans, Ludlam, Nutley

Subs Clare, Ma’afu, Ford-Robinson, Paterson, Wood, Mitchell, Grayson, Estelles

SALE Haley; Charnley, Addison, James, Odogwu; Wilkinson, de Klerk; Flynn, Jones, John, Evans, Beaumont, Ioane, Neild, Moore

Subs Langdon, Pope, Tarus, Postlethwaite, Seymour, Nott, Cliff, Redpath

TIMELINE
31’ SALE Try Moore 5-0
40’ SALE Penalty Addison 8-0
HALF TIME Sale 8-0 Saints
48’ SAINTS Try Pisi Conversion Grayson 8-7
53’ SAINTS Try Nutley Conversion Grayson 8-14
59’ SALE Try James 13-14
62’ SAINTS Penalty Grayson 13-17
73’ SALE Try Jones Conversion de Klerk 20-17
80’ SAINTS Try Tuitavake Conversion Grayson 20-24
FULL TIME Sale 20-24 Saints


Tickets are available for Saints' next home game, the Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Harlequins on Friday 2 February from the ticket office at Franklin’s Gardens, online by visiting bit.ly/SAI-QUI-AWC or by calling 01604 581000.

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