Danny Cipriani made his first Sale Sharks appearance of the season against London Wasps
20 September 2013, 10:10 pm ::
By Paul Smith
Sale Sharks 26 London Wasps 22
Danny Cipriani made a triumphant return to action for Sale Sharks to help inflict a third straight defeat on his former club London Wasps.
The seven-times capped England international came off the bench to score a try and kick a further 16 points as his side emerged 26-22 victors in a fine Aviva Premiership encounter.
Mark Cueto also scored a try for the hosts at AJ Bell Stadium, but Wasps rallied after the break with Josh Bassett and Ashley Johnson on the score sheet, though ultimately it proved in vain.
Former Sale captain James Gaskell was forced out of the match before it had begun picking up an injury in the warm up. Josh Beaumont, son of former England and Lions player Bill Beaumont, replaced him at No.8 with Will Cliff also a late replacement for Welsh scrum-half Dwayne Peel.
Sale had the best of the early play but Wasps threatened out wide and through flanker Sam Jones down the middle.
Injuries brought Cipriani and Mark Easter into the action for Sale as Nick Macleod and Beaumont left the field - a cruel end to the youngster's first Aviva Premiership start, which had lasted just 20 minutes.
Cipriani was straight into the action slotting a penalty after Wasps had pulled down the Sale lineout, but Wasps replied two minutes later with Andy Goode levelling the score.
Replacement Wasps full back Tommy Bell dropped an up and under and Sale spread the ball quickly to the wings with Andy Forsyth going close. Sustained pressure in the corner was rewarded with Cueto's try after several penalties saw the Sharks opt to kick to the corner. Veteran winger Cueto picked a nice angle off Cipriani to score near the posts, leaving a simple conversion for the fly-half.
Another Cipriani penalty from straight in front of the posts put Sale comfortably in the lead going into the break at 13-3.
A long spell of Sale possession at the start of the second half saw them stretch the visitors from side to side with Cueto revelling in his role at outside centre.
Sale were camped on the Wasps' try line and it was Cipriani that scrambled over to score before converting from out wide.
Wasps did not lie down though and kicked to the corner from a scrum when Sale were penalised. A powerful driving maul from the forwards allowed burly South African back row Johnson an easy score, with Goode converting.
A third Cipriani penalty eased the pressure but poor discipline began to cost the home side as Wasps were allowed to move into the Sale 22.
Another maul from Wasps caused Sale trouble and Andrew Small awarded a penalty try, with Goode converting.
Wasps gained valuable territory when Cipriani kicked the ball out on the full having been adjudged to have touched it before it went into the 22. Quick hands from the visitors found numbers waiting out wide and Bassett went over.
Crucially, Goode was wide with the conversion leaving Sale a point ahead with eight minutes remaining.
And captain Dan Braid won a last-gasp penalty to secure the victory with Cipriani converting to take his points tally to 21 for the night.