Match reports / Rugby Union

Match report: Sale 34-28 Wasps

 

The Sharks have won three out of their last four games at home

A Denny Solomona hat-trick helped Sale secure a 34-28 win over league-leaders Wasps at the AJ Bell Stadium, taking their winning run to five in all competitions.

Will Addison opened the scoring with a perfectly struck penalty after five minutes, before his opposite number Jimmy Gopperth slotted two of his own.

It was then that Solomona crossed for his first try, having picked up from the back of a ruck to tiptoe his way to the try line, a move that Diamond said his side had been doing for 20 years.

Addison’s conversion was answered by a second Gopperth penalty, before Solomona crossed the whitewash again – this time having collected his own chip over Christian Wade to score under the posts.

Addison converted, and he soon found himself lining up another when Solomona completed his hat-trick after 38 minutes.

In contrast to the first two, the wing’s third of the afternoon was not a show of individual excellence, rather a dazzling show of handling throughout the side, with lock Bryn Evans supplying his teammate with a quick nudge to the wing.

Sale took a healthy 24-9 lead in to the break, which was added to shortly after when Mark Jennings profited from an inventive 12-man lineout move. to secure the bonus point.

Wasps soon kicked in to gear however, with Josh Bassett carrying over for their first of the afternoon as the visitors looked to mount a comeback. Gopperth bisected the uprights, before Ashley Johnson crashed over for a second.

With Gopperth temporarily off the field to be treated for a blood injury, the kick was left to ex-Sharks fly-half Danny Cipriani, who left the club in summer.

Having missed out on kicking duties all season, his attempt at the posts sailed wide to the left as Sale looked to compose themselves.

Addison halted the Wasps onslaught with his sixth and final kick just before the hour mark, adding another three-pointer to sure up the lead.

Wasps’ electric backs found one last sting in their tail when Premiership debutant Willie le Roux linked up with fullback Kurtley Beale to carry over.

Having returned in a blank shirt, his old jersey having been coated in blood, Gopperth added the extras to bring his side within losing bonus point range.

The 69th-minute score pushed Diamond to introduce veteran scrum-half Peter Stringer to dictate play and manage the game from half-back, and he got just what he was looking for from the Irishman in the final 10 minutes.

His vast experience was evident when he pounced on number eight Alex Rieder, who was attempting to run from the back of a scrum, which resulted in Wasps being pinged on the floor and, subsequently, a Sharks penalty.

Wasps went close on a number of occasions but alert defensive play meant Sale held their own, and even went close to adding a fifth try when Jennings intercepted on his own five metre line to launch a counter attack, but the ball was eventually knocked on.

The Coventry side left Manchester having failed to capitalise on a Saracens slip-up on Friday to extend their lead at the top of the table.

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