Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks shock leaders Northampton Saints
Last Updated: 22/03/14 7:45pm
Michael Paterson of Sale Sharks gets a pass away
Premiership leaders Northampton suffered just their second defeat of the season, going down 19-6 to Sale Sharks at AJ Bell Stadium.
Saints were restricted to just two penalties from Will Hooley, while Sale showed plenty of attacking enterprise in the first half, crossing for tries from Mark Cueto, Marc Jones and Tom Brady.
The visitors took the lead early on as Hooley slotted over a penalty from long range, but an inspired break from Dwayne Peel provided the home side with the platform for the first try.
Peel danced around 40 yards down the field before being stopped. However, the damage had already been done, as the ball was quickly whipped out wide to Cueto, who touched down at the corner. Danny Cipriani converted to give Sale a four-point lead.
Northampton hit back when they won another penalty, which Hooley once again converted, but the Sharks defence was holding them out well.
In fact the home outfit had the chance to restore there four-point advantage shortly after, although Cipriani failed with his goal attempt.
Yet the confidence Sale had in their attack was clear when they turned down two kicks at goal to go for the power play. It was a decision they would not regret as they then went over for their second try of the afternoon when Jones forced his way over from close range.
Referee Luke Pearce then sought assistance from the video referee to deal with fighting that broke out after the score, which saw both Saints captain Dylan Hartley and Sale's Sam Tuitupou sent to the bin for their involvement before Cipriani missed the conversion.
Cipriani later took full advantage of the space created against a one man down defensive line as he grubbered in behind the visitors defence through to Brady. The winger squeezed in at the corner, with Cipriani then converting from the touchline to make it 19-6 at half time.
The pouring rain restricted any free-flowing play to a minimum in the second half.
The visitors piled on the pressure and were deep in Sharks territory for a prolonged periods, but a magnificent defensive effort saw the Sharks through to victory in the end, as both sides failed to register a point in the second half.
Fri 8th May
Harlequins0 - 0Bath
Sat 9th May
Sale Sharks0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Gloucester0 - 0London Irish
Northampton0 - 0London Welsh
Wasps0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Sun 10th May
Saracens0 - 0Exeter
Sat 16th May
Bath0 - 0Gloucester
Exeter0 - 0Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers0 - 0Northampton
London Irish0 - 0Wasps
London Welsh0 - 0Saracens
Newcastle Falcons0 - 0Harlequins
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 17
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill remains hopeful of holding on to winger Vereniki Goneva despite interest from France.
Leicester consolidated fourth place in the Aviva Premiership with a 45-15 thumping of Exeter at Welford Road on Sunday.
Neal Hatley was full of praise for fly-half George Ford after Bath's 44-23 away victory over London Irish.