Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks hold on at London Welsh
Sale claimed a potentially vital victory in their battle against relegation, winning 26-25 at London Welsh.
Last Updated: 17/02/13 5:22pm
Henry Thomas makes some hard yards for Sale
Sale claimed a potentially vital victory in their battle against Aviva Premiership relegation, winning 26-25 at fellow strugglers London Welsh.
A dramatic finale saw Sale sneak home by a point as the lead changed hands four times, leaving the Sharks one point behind 11th-placed London Irish and three in arrears of Welsh.
Wing Phil Mackenzie got the Exiles' only try, with scrum-half Alex Davies kicking four penalties and fly-half Gavin Henson adding two penalties and a conversion.
Sale's points came via tries from scrum-half Will Cliff and flanker Daniel Braid, with fly-half Danny Cipriani landing three penalties and two conversions and Nick Macleod a match-winning late penalty.
Sharks fly-half Cipriani booted his first penalty from 25 metres after Welsh were pinged for illegally wheeling a scrum, before Davies levelled.
As the half wore on, the Welsh pack managed to get the upper hand, the pressure forcing Sale to give away two kickable penalties which Davies knocked over from short range, while Henson hammered over a 50-yarder.
That put Welsh 12-3 ahead but they went into the interval a point behind. Cipriani landed another penalty with six minutes to go and then started a fine move for Cliff's touchdown.
Sale turned a Welsh attack over in their half that gave Cipriani the chance to race downfield. He linked with wing Charlie Amesbury before receiving the ball again on the Exiles' 22, making ground before laying off the score that he also converted.
The 10 minutes after the break was manic as Sale opened up an eight-point gap on Welsh before the Exiles clawed that back and more.
Full-back Cameron Shepherd sent Baird over for a Cipriani-converted touchdown for the Sharks, but Davies landed his fourth penalty to reduce those arrears to five points.
Then a lovely ball from Henson inside the visiting 22 sent wing MacKenzie over from 15 metres, with the conversion and a further penalty by the Welshman giving the Londoners a five-point cushion.
Cipriani's third penalty brought the Sharks back within striking distance and Nick Macleod - by now on for Cipriani - booted a penalty from in front of the posts. Despite a desperate finish from the Exiles, Sale held on.