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Page last updated at 20:43 GMT, Friday, 23 September 2011 21:43 UK

Sale Sharks 29-21 Northampton Saints

Sale (6) 29
Tries: Easter, Peel, Seymour
Conversions: MacLeod Penalties: MacLeod 4
Northampton (12) 21
Penalties: Myler 7

Sale v Northampton

Three second-half tries helped Sale hit back from an interval deficit to beat Northampton at Edgeley Park.

Having trailed 12-6 at half-time, Stephen Myler's sixth penalty left the home side 18-9 up just before the hour.

But Mark Easter's try was followed by a double sin-binning for Saints duo Phil Dowson and Calum Clark.

Dwayne Peel, sin-binned himself before the break, took advantage to score his side's second try and David Seymour's late effort wrapped up victory.

Myler added a seventh kick but, with home stand-off Nick MacLeod kicking four penalties of his own, as well as converting Seymour's try, Sale made it three Premiership wins out of four this season.

Having fought relegation in recent seasons, boss Steve Diamond presided over a major overhaul at Edgeley Park during the summer in a bid to transform the 2006 Premiership champions into a serious force again - and it is starting to look as if he might be working along the right lines.

For Northampton, it was a third straight defeat, made all the more painful when MacLeod's late conversion denied them a losing bonus point.

In a first 40 minutes that saw the Saints go in four penalties to two up, the visitors' lead might have been more.

It's tough enough being one man down. It's even tougher when you are two men down

Northampton coach Jim Mallinder

The home side were briefly reduced to 14 men themselves when, with Northampton camped on Sale's line, scrum-half Peel incurred the wrath of referee Tim Wigglesworth and became the first of the night's three sin-binnings for kicking the ball out of Martin Roberts' hands as he attempted to take a quick penalty tap.

Yet to Sale's credit, they repelled wave after wave of Northampton pressure on their line.

An early second-half trade of three more penalties helped the Saints increase their lead. But Sale were rewarded for a period of sustained pressure when Easter grounded the ball in the left corner.

And, although MacLeod could not add the extras, Saints then had Clark sin-binned in the 59th minute for obstruction before Dowson was shown a yellow card three minutes later for kicking the ball away to leave the home side facing 13 men.

A penalty from MacLeod cut the gap to one point before Peel scampered over in the right corner to put Sale ahead for the first time at 22-18.

Myler then kicked his seventh penalty to cut Sale's lead again but a fine score from Seymour in the 74th minute proved decisive as he burst clear inside the left channel, MacLeod's boot rounding off victory.


Sale executive director of sport Steve Diamond:

"It wasn't a rollicking session at half-time. We just said that if we get the ball out wide then we could score tries and we did that, courtesy of them having 13 men. Attacking Northampton out wide behind their big centres is the best way to get at them.

"We've got a lot of new players here. The lads who were fortunate to be offered a new contract and the other lads who came in a have a desire to achieve and succeed.

"That's down to the players. The team spirit is generated on the training field, not in a bar or a bowling alley. What we've done is take all the excuses out and given the players the best possible facilities and knowledge."

Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder:

"You don't want to blame referees and we talked about being squeaky clean but, quite obviously, in the first 10 minutes the referee was very keen in terms of the breakdown, of rolling away in the tackle and being onside.

"We were in control in the first half. We didn't get enough rewards from our dominant scrum. Second half, if you go down to 13 men it's always going to be a struggle.

"I suppose there will be questions asked about the first yellow card. The crowd made a noise. I don't think it was a yellow card, I don't even think it was a penalty. It's tough enough being one man down. It's even tougher when you are two men down."


Sale: Miller; Brady, Higgins, Addison, Tuculet; Macleod, Peel; Imiolek, M Jones, Thomas; McKenzie, Myall; Gaskell, Seymour (capt), Easter.

Replacements: Tuitupou for Higgins (52), Holmes for McKenzie (52), Croall for Imiolek (77), Cobilas for Thomas (79).

Not Used: Taylor, Briggs, Mathie, Amesbury.

Sin Bin: Peel (29).

Northampton: Clarke; Diggin, May, Downey, Cato; Myler, Roberts; Doran-Jones, Sharman, Mujati; Manoa, Day; Clarke, Nutley, Dowson (capt).

Replacements: Armstrong for Diggin (77), A Waller for Doran-Jones (66), Mercey for Mujati (74).

Not Used: Haywood, Sorenson, Craig, Commins, Lamb.

Sin Bin: Clark (59), Dowson (62).

Attendance: 6,250.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (RFU).

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see also
Wasps 18-29 Sale
17 Sep 11 |  English
Northampton 13-14 London Irish
17 Sep 11 |  English

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