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Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Friday, 22 April 2011 17:25 UK

Sale Sharks 24-30 Exeter Chiefs

Sale (10) 24
Tries: Bell, Lewaravu, Addison Cons: Hodgson 3 Pens: Hodgson
Exeter (10) 30
Tries: Sestaret, Jess, Hayes Cons: Mieres 2, Steenson Pens: Mieres 2, Steenson


Will Addison
Teenage winger Will Addison impressed at a sunny Edgeley Park

Sale snatched a losing bonus point as Exeter ended a run of four Premiership defeats with a 30-24 victory.

Sale fought back from 10-0 down after Nic Sestaret's try and five points from Ignacio Mieres's boot put Chiefs ahead.

Chris Bell's converted try and a Charlie Hodgson penalty drew Sale level at half-time before Matt Jess reacted first to Bell's knock on to score.

Wame Lewaravu crashed over for Sale and Tom Hayes went in for Exeter but Will Addison's late try was not enough.

The Sharks' bonus point now guarantees they will play in the Premiership next season.

The Chiefs will have to wait for the outcome of a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing on Wednesday to see if they will be deducted points and possibly plunged into a relegation battle.

The visitors put their troubles to one side and enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges at a sun-drenched Edgeley Park.

Argentine stand-off Mieres put his side 3-0 ahead early on before Phil Dollman made the space for Sestaret's opening try and the Frenchman took it with ease.

Charlie Hodgson
Hodgson said goodbye to the Sale faithful with a lap of honour

Mieres added the conversion but it was his opposite number Hodgson, captaining the side in his final home game for Sale before his exit for Saracens in the summer, who showed invention and guile throughout.

Sale laboured to convert good periods of pressure into points before Hodgson's boot put them on the board on 34 minutes.

Their first try was down to great work by 18-year-old Addison who drew the Chiefs defence before slipping the ball out to Bell on the left wing and Hodgson added the extras.

Mieres gave the Devon side a three-point lead early in the second half before Sale, who were guilty of trying to force off-loads throughout the game, knocked on through Bell and Jess gathered first to race away unchallenged.

Sale changed tactics and decided to keep the ball tight which paid off when Lewaravu smashed his way over from close range.

Hodgson kicked the conversion to make it a three-point game with 10 minutes left.

But substitute fly-half Gareth Steenson landed a penalty for a collapsed scrum before Hayes scampered over to ensure victory.

Teenager Addison's late consolation try and promising performance will have given Sale fans something to look forward to next season but those leaving Edgeley Park this afternoon will feel Hodgson's loss far more keenly.


Sale Sharks director of sport Steve Diamond told BBC Radio Manchester:

"It was not a great performance, a lot of errors and mistakes and the most noticeable thing on the day is we played against a good team.

"We can't really on the youth to bring us through games like that with hardened forward packs.

"What we need to do is get back to basics in the summer and we need to create a team ethic here."

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter:
"I think what we saw today is something, if we're honest, that we haven't seen over the last month or so.

"Our emphasis this week has been to get back to being a team that people talk about as having togetherness.

"I think what we've done in the last three or four weeks is let that slide and perhaps push on a little too hard and too fast."


Sale: MacLeod, Williams, Bell, Tuilagi, Addison, Hodgson, Peel, Sheridan, Briggs, Thomas, Lewaravu, Cox, Gaskell, Fearns, Koyamaibole.

Replacements: Tonetti for Williams (40), Miller for Tuilagi (71), Cliff for Peel (62), E. Roberts for Thomas (44), C. Jones for Cox (68), McMillan for Fearns (71).

Exeter: Arscott, Jess, Dollman, Naqelevuki, Sestaret, Mieres, Thomas, Sturgess, Clark, Tui, Hayes, Hanks, Johnson, Scaysbrook, Baxter.

Replacements: Rennie for Naqelevuki (79), Steenson for Mieres (57), Poluleuligaga for Thomas (73), Moon for Sturgess (68), Whitehead for Clark (56), Budgen for Tui (56), Slade for Hanks (68), Phillips for Baxter (79).

Att: 7,482

Ref: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland).



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see also
Guscott's predictions
25 Apr 11 |  English
Hodgson ready for Sale home bow
21 Apr 11 |  Sale
Exeter face disciplinary hearing
21 Apr 11 |  Exeter
Sale 20-34 London Irish
16 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Exeter 12-33 Saracens
16 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union


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