- Gallagher Premiership
- Friday, May 28th 2021
- AJ Bell Stadium
Will Carpenter reports from AJ Bell Stadium
Report: Sale Sharks 22-12 Bristol Bears
Friday, May 28th 2021
Sale Sharks struck twice with Semi Radradra in the sin bin, as they came from behind to edge a bruising encounter at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday night.
After a scoreless yet fascinating first half, Ben Earl finished off a flowing Bears attack involving Radradra, Malins and Piutau to break the deadlock in the North West.
But when Radradra was yellow carded for high tackle on MacGinty following a long TMO referral, the Sharks took full advantage to turn the game on its head.
First, Daniel Du Preez showcased his power from close range, and three minutes later, Byron McGuigan collected MacGinty’s cross-field kick and fed replacement Rob Du Preez on the inside to fire the hosts into a seven-point lead.
Curtis Langdon piled over for a third from a driving lineout to all but seal the game, but Ioan Lloyd’s dancing feet gave the Bears a late lifeline, as he stood up the covering Sale defence with the silkiest of in-and-outs in the right-hand corner.
Sheedy converted from out wide, but at the other end, MacGinty’s penalty closed out an attritional clash, as Pat Lam’s men slipped to just a fourth defeat of the Gallagher Premiership season.
A scoreless first 40 was punctuated by some bone crunching hits, as both sides went hell for leather in a mouth-watering top of the table clash.
The Bears dominated both possession and territory, enjoying 78% of the ball, but were unable to find a way through a relentless Sharks’ defence.
Nathan Hughes’ break and kick through almost found Uren in pursuit, while at the other end, Luke James’ offload was spilt was McGuigan with the line at his mercy.
The Bears hit their straps six minutes into the second period, as Malins and Radradra combined to locate Piutau in space, and the full back left the ball delightfully for Earl to race clear and finish.
The game’s turning point arrived on 58 minutes when Radradra saw yellow for a high shot after Raffi Quirke had broken clear. It would prove costly for the visitors, as Sale turned the screw with tries from Daniel and Robert Du Preez in the space of three minutes.
Langdon’s score drove the hosts further clear with nine minutes remaining, and Lloyd’s late magic wasn’t enough to deny Alex Sanderson’s Sharks.
Sale: L. James, McGuigan, S. James, Doherty, Yarde, MacGinty, De Klerk, Rodd, Van Der Merwe, Oosthuizen, Wiese, JL, Du Preez, T. Curry, B. Curry, D, Du Preez.
Replacements: Langdon, Morozov, Harper, Phillips, Neild, Quirke, R. Du Preez.
Bristol: C. Piutau, Morahan (Lloyd 3), Radradra, O'Conor, Malins, Sheedy, Uren, Woolmore (Y Thomas 52), Kerr (Thacker 56), Sinckler (Chaparro 56), Attwood (Holmes 66), Vui, Harding, Earl, Hughes (Heenan 72).
Replacements: Thacker, Y Thomas, Chaparro, Holmes, Heenan, Kessell, Lloyd, S. Piutau.
Sale Sharks: Tries: D Du Preez 62, R Du Preez 65, Langdon 71. Cons: MacGinty 65, 71
Pens: Macginty 78
Bristol Bears: Tries: Earl 46, Lloyd 75. Cons: Sheedy 75. Yellow: Radradra 58
Earl's try put the Bears ahead but after Radradra was yellow carded, the Sharks struck with 12 points to edge in front and open up a lead they would not relinquish.
Pat Lam reaction
Man of the match: Kyle Sinckler
- du Preez, Langdon, du Preez
- MacGinty (2)
- Yellow Cards:
- Earl, Lloyd
- Yellow Cards: