Fixtures - Top Bar

Match Reaction: London Irish 15 Sale Sharks 30

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond insists his side’s gruelling schedule over the coming days will not see him field a weakened side, after they swept aside London Irish to win 30-15 at the Madejski Stadium.

Diamond’s men now face three matches in the next 10 days, as their mission to secure a top-six Aviva Premiership Rugby finish continues alongside their European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final clash with Montpellier.

Mike Haley scored late in the first half to give Sale a slender advantage over London Irish, with the Exiles not taking their chances after Sean Maitland's early try – Greig Tonks missing three times from the tee.

Johnny Williams' try did reduce the deficit to just one point after Danny Cipriani had kicked his third penalty of the game, but late tries from TJ Ioane and then Cipriani himself – who notched up 20 points in total – saw Sale to their second win on the bounce.

And while Diamond conceded it was not a complete performance from his troops, he was thrilled to have got past a side battling desperately to haul themselves away from the bottom of the Aviva Premiership standings.

“We didn't play that well in areas. We made basic errors and we controlled possession in the first half just enough,” he said.

“We turned around just in front and then we played well in the second half.

“We play Montpellier on Friday, then we travel to Bath to play them on the Wednesday and then we have to play Bath again on Sunday. We will be going full strength for all three.

“Anyone can be where London Irish are. They can count on their fingers how many games they could have won this year. It's a tough league. It is just that consistency you need.

“I have played against London Irish for 30-odd years and somebody has to go down, that is the beauty of the league. The competition is so strong that the Aviva Premiership is pushing itself forward.

“It is easy saying it when you are not involved but I have been involved in a dogfight three years ago and London Irish are still not out of the woods. They have Newcastle in two weeks but we have to take the emotion away from it. We want to be in the top six and reach as high as we can.”

The Exiles once again were not particularly clinical in attack, missing penalties and also squandering several try-scoring opportunities in the first half.

And with Newcastle Falcons also going down on Saturday to Harlequins, head coach Tom Coventry conceded the meeting between the two sides in two week’s time at Kingston Park is make-or-break for the Exiles.

He said: “It was a pretty big disappointment today after we worked to get ourselves into the game. There were a couple of big moments that swung the game.

“We can dwell on this as long as we like but we have to get back on the horse and see if we can get some footy under our belt that is good enough to win at Newcastle.”
London Irish: Maitland, Fowlie (Brophy Clews 61), Hearn, Williams (Mulchrone 79), Fenby, Tonks, Steele (McKibbin 55), Court (Smallbone 41), Paice (Cruse 61), Aulika (Halavatau 55), Sinclair (Sexton 64), Symons, Narraway, Cowan, Treviranus (McCusker 38)
Sale Sharks: Haley, Addison (Brady 51-53), James, Tuitupou (Brady 66), Edwards, Cipriani (Ford 78), Stringer, Lewis Roberts (Harrison 55), Taylor (Briggs 66), Mujati (Cobilas 7-13, 51), Evans, Ostrikov (Mills 66), Neild, Seymour (Lund 78), Easter (Ioane 51)
London Irish
Tries: Maitland, Williams
Conversions: Tonks
Penalties: Tonks
Sale Sharks
Tries: Haley, Ioane, Cipriani
Conversions: Cipriani 3
Penalties: Cipriani 3
Yellow cards: Briggs
Referee: C Maxwell-Keys
Attendance: 5,541

Latest News

England Rugby squad update

Bath Rugby's Anthony Watson is a step closer to making his England return after being one of 24 players retained…

Anthony Watson

Piutau hoping West Country derby brings the best out of Bristol Rugby

Bristol Rugby centre Siale Piutau admits there is no better way for his side to bounce back from a bruising…

Mark Jennings: In-form Sale Sharks can topple Saracens

Sale Sharks’ Mark Jennings believes his in-form side are now reaping the fruits of their tough European campaign – and…

Zach Mercer to lead England U20 against Italy

England Under 20 have made eight changes to the starting line-up for their Six Nations match against Italy at the…

Will Witty targets top six as Newcastle Falcons push continues

Newcastle Falcons are enjoying their best season in over a decade and lock Will Witty believes a top-six finish is…

Round 16 Preview: Bristol Rugby v Bath Rugby

Bristol Rugby’s only two victories in Aviva Premriship Rugby this season came in successive matches, against Worcester and Sale over…

Bristol v Bath

Ticket sales for Derby Day at Wembley hit 50,000

Ticket sales for this year’s Derby Day spectacle between Saracens and Harlequins at Wembley Stadium have now hit 50,000! The…


Round 16 Preview: Wasps v Gloucester Rugby

Wasps are without a win in their last four first team fixtures since beating Zebre in Parma in the Champions…

Wasps v Gloucester

Referee appointments: Dean Richards takes charge of 91st Aviva Premiership Rugby clash

Referee Dean Richards will move ever closer to a century of Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this weekend, as he takes…

Round 16 Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons

Exeter Chiefs only defeat in their last ten first team matches was at Clermont-Auvergne in the European Champions Cup on…

Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons

Round 16 Preview: Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors

Northampton Saints have slipped to successive Aviva Premiership Rugby defeats at Bath and at Newcastle but have not lost three…

Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors

Jack Wilson extends stay with Bath Rugby

Jack Wilson has extended his stay with Bath Rugby until at least 2019, the Club are delighted to confirm. The…

Jack Wilson

Guy Mercer relishing Bath Rugby’s rigorous preparation this term

Bath Rugby club captain Guy Mercer believes meticulous planning has laid the foundations for a successful end to the season.…

Newcastle Falcons sign Canadian try machine DTH van der Merwe

Newcastle Falcons have added another proven top-level try-scorer to their squad with the news that Canada and Scarlets wing DTH…

DTH van der Merwe

Round 16 Preview: Saracens v Sale Sharks

Saracens are without a win in their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures and have not gone four in a…

Saracens v Sale Sharks

Round 16 Preview: Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Harlequins are one of only two sides with a 100 per cent home winning record in Aviva Premiership Rugby this…

Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Phil Swainston joins Harlequins from Wasps

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 22nd February), the signing of Wasps tighthead prop Phil Swainston, who will join…

Phil Swainston

BT Sport and ITV coverage of Aviva Premiership Rugby

A breathless round of Aviva Premiership Rugby action last week saw records smashed, underdogs triumph, and tries galore with a…

Live TV matches on BT Sport for Round 21

Premiership Rugby can confirm that Harlequins’ crucial clash with Wasps in the penultimate round of Aviva Premiership Rugby has been chosen…

Wasps v Harlequins