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Page last updated at 23:15 GMT, Friday, 19 November 2010

Sale 10-19 Northampton

Sale (7) 10
Tries: Cohen Cons: MacLeod Pens: MacLeod
Northampton (9) 19
Tries: Tonks, Elliott Pens: Myler 3

Northampton debutant Jamie Elliott on  his way to scoring a try at Edgeley Park
Jamie Elliott holds off Rob Miller on his way to scoring a try

Jamie Elliott helped create one try and scored another on his Premiership debut for Northampton to put Saints top of the table with a 19-10 win over Sale.

Ex-Saints winger Ben Cohen scored the only try of the first half, but Stephen Myler's three penalties gave the visitors a 9-7 lead at half time.

Elliott, 18, then gathered Myler's kick before putting Greig Tonks in to score.

Nick MacLeod's 70th-minute penalty made it 14-10, but the Northampton winger burrowed over to seal the win.

The result means a fifth Premiership defeat in eight games for the Sharks but they started brightly and, after going behind to an early Myler penalty, only some stout defending from the visitors kept them at bay.

The hosts were effective with ball in hand but it was an error by Saints flanker Tom Wood that gifted Sale their try as Cohen was put away on the right wing.

MacLeod landed his touchline conversion but then Northampton went on the offensive.

Tonks was denied a try by a brilliant tackle from Sale debutant, and ex-Wigan rugby league player, Iain Thornley but Myler's boot ensured Saints went in for the break ahead.

The Northampton fly-half missed another penalty attempt on 47 minutes but produced a deftly-weighted kick to the corner for his side's opening score.

It was fielded by Elliott who fed the ball to full-back Tonks before assisting him over the line.

Myler missed the extras but MacLeod was off target with two more penalty attempts before landing his third to set up a tight finish.

But it was the 18-year-old winger who had the final say as he held off Rob Miller to crown a memorable league debut with a score of his own.

Sale head coach Mike Brewer said:
"We've got a long way to go and we're probably two years away from being as efficient as Northampton.

"As I said to the guys, we're at the start of a journey and in six months' time we will be a better team when we play them again at Franklin's Gardens.

"I am very happy with the performance but I'm hurting that we lost because we thought we could have won the match."

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder told BBC Radio Northampton:
"The first half was a dominant performance. We were unfortunate to give away that try.

"It made it a bit messy, but we stuck to the game plan and we said at half time that the points would come.

"Those players who came in didn't let the side down. [Greig] Tonks has been playing well for us and it's a big step up for Jamie Elliot, but everything he did was good."

Sale: Miller; Cohen, Thornley, Tuilagi, Bell; Macleod, Peel; Croall, Briggs (capt), Wihongi; Rouse, Cox; Ormsby, Fearns, Boko.

Replacements: M. Tait for Bell (68), Imiolek for Croall (21), M. Jones for Briggs (68), Thomas for Wihongi (75), C. Jones for Cox (79), McMillan for Boko (75).

Northampton: Tonks; Elliott, Clarke, Downey, Diggin; Myler, Powell; Tonga'uiha, Sharman, Mujati; Sorenson, Day; Clark, Wood, Dowson (capt).

Replacements: Wilson for Sorenson (55), Easter for Wood (75).

Att: 8,091

Ref: John Paul Doyle (RFU).

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see also
Sale's Thornley adjusts to switch
17 Nov 10 |  Sale
Leeds 17-23 Sale
14 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Saints to stay calm - Mallinder
17 Nov 10 |  Northampton
Ashton to get 'special attention'
15 Nov 10 |  Northampton
No plans to leave Saints - Myler
13 Nov 10 |  Northampton
Northampton 28-3 Dragons
12 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union commentaries
09 Sep 10 |  Rugby Union

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