Aviva Premiership: Northampton Saints stroll past struggling Sale Sharks
Last Updated: 01/12/12 7:23am
Tom May charges in for Northampton's third try
The arrival of John Mitchell had no immediate galvanising effect on Sale as they slumped to a 27-16 defeat by Northampton.
The Kiwi has taken over at the helm of the Premiership's bottom side but his new charges had no answer to the power of Northampton up front.
The Saints ran in three tries in the thick Salford fog to wrap up the victory by the break, but failed to find a bonus-point score as Sale improved markedly in the second half.
Sale struggled to cope with the Saints' rolling maul all evening and quickly gave away a penalty which Ryan Lamb converted, although a powerful burst from Richie Gray earned Nick Macleod the chance to level.
But the driving maul again proved Sale's undoing on 18 minutes as Soane Tonga'huia broke off the back as the defenders were sucked in before putting Jamie Elliott in for a free run to the line, with Lamb converting.
Sale were also struggling at the breakdown and quick turnover ball proved fatal four minutes later as Callum Clark sent Tonga'huia rumbling down the same touchline to score the Saints' second try.
Lamb converted and knocked over a drop-goal before Sale shipped another try with time expired, a loose pass from Macleod in midfield allowing Tom May to scoop up and race 40 metres to score.
At 27-3 at the break Sale were facing a hammering but they rallied impressively in the second half - perhaps spurred on by Mitchell's teamtalk.
A sumptuous delayed pass from Mark Cueto put Rob Miller in at the corner and three minutes from time Sale's forwards extracted a measure of revenge for their torrid night as a pushover try was finished off by Tommy Taylor.
Sale gamely pursued the try that would have earned them a losing bonus point in the closing moments, but they failed to break the Saints defensive line and once again have nothing to show for their efforts.