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Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 27 Leicester Tigers 20

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Steve Diamond was quick to heap praise on Danny Cipriani after the Wasps-bound fly-half put in a man of the match performance to help Sale Sharks see off Leicester Tigers.

Back in February, it was announced that Cipriani would be heading back to Wasps for the 2015-2016 season but there was little sign that his mind was already elsewhere as he contributed 17 points to help keep alive Sale Sharks Aviva Premiership Rugby top-six hopes.

Flanker Cameron Neild and Nev Edwards both posted first-half tries, converted by Cipriani, before a thunderstorm in the second-half saw play suspended temporarily with the score at 20-13.

And while Leicester's Vereniki Goneva levelled the scores, Cipriani demonstrated he was equally able with ball in hand to dart through the Tigers defence to wrap up the win.

And while Diamond admitted a replacement for Cipriani was close to being announced, Sale’s director of rugby admitted he had been impressed by his current fly-half’s professionalism.

"Danny sees his future elsewhere and it has been written about for months now, so good on him,” he said.

"The good thing was that we had a sit down and he wants to get us as high up in the league as he can. You saw in his performance today that he doesn't look like a lad who wants to leave.

"Danny saw the gap and took it and scored a brilliant try to be fair.

"His goal-kicking was great, his defence was good and it was a complete performance by him really.

"He will be replaced and we have replaced him already, the announcement will be made in the next week or so.”

The match was full of excitement and incidents, including the build up to Edwards try which saw Addison somehow keep a bouncing ball from going into touch following a long kick up field.

There was also the break in play on 54 minutes when the players were taken from the field of play due to safety concerns with a lightning storm raging over the AJ Bell Stadium.

However Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill refused to be too drawn on the move, instead reflecting on the ground lost to the top two by his fifth-placed Tigers.

"It's the game we needed to win, really. It's a game we haven't,” he said.

"We'll take the point and we live to fight another day, but I think that takes our top-two ambitions out of the equation and you're fighting for top four."

"The television match official decided it was a health-and-safety risk, which is a bit bizarre really in a contact sport.

"But I suppose it was a sensible thing to do and Sale played well and took their opportunities.”

Sale Sharks: Haley, Addison, James, Tuitupou, Edwards, Cipriani, Stringer, Lewis-Roberts (Harrison 60), Taylor,  Cobilas, Evans, Mills (Ostrikov 35), Neild, Seymour,  Easter (Lund 63)
Replacements: Briggs, Mujati, Mitchell, Ford, Brady
 
Leicester Tigers: Bell (Veainu 54), Tait, Tuilagi, Williams, Goneva, Burns (Betham 23), Youngs (Harrison 71), Ayerza (Genge 75), Thacker, Cole, Barrow, Kitchener, Pearce (Fonua 53), Croft, Crane
Replacements: Bateman, Balmain, de Chaves

Sale Sharks
Tries: Neild, Edwards, Cipriani
Conv: Cipriani 3
Pens: Cipriani 2

Leicester Tigers
Tries: Bell, Goneva
Conv: Williams 2
Pens: Burns, Williams
 
Referee: Tom Foley
Attendance: 7,687
 

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