Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 57 Gloucester Rugby 10
Not since 2004 had Sale Sharks accrued as many points in an Aviva Premiership Rugby match, but a starring display on home soil saw them lodge a comfortable victory over Gloucester Rugby.
The Cherry & Whites were clinically dispatched by the home side, in a match which saw Byron McGuigan pick up a hat-trick in an eight-try display.
But all that came after Denny Solomona’s try just 55 seconds into the match, showing his side meant business right from the off at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Francois de Klerk ensured there was more to come in the second half, while James O’Connor scored on debut before Sam James got his name on the scoreboard in an impressive attacking display.
But the Sharks showed they can fight tooth and nail in defence too, limiting the hosts to the one score which came from John Afoa just three minutes from time.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
To score three tries in one Aviva Premiership Rugby match takes some doing, but this was no ordinary night for McGuigan.
The first saw him profit from de Klerk’s nifty footwork, taking advantage of a gap in the visiting defence to crash over the whitewash.
Then, with barely half an hour on the clock, came a complete gift for the winger, watching an intercept pass fall into his hands before racing downfield to crash over.
And the damage was to be well and truly done in the second half, completing the trio with just seven minutes left on the clock.
TRY OF THE MATCH:
Any latecomers to the AJ Bell Stadium would have missed a moment of magic early on.
As it so often does, the brilliance was to come from Solomona – making a chance from almost nothing to get his side up and running within a minute.
With limited space out wide, the wing elected to chip and chase on his way to the try line, flirting with the touchline and dead-ball line on more than one occasion before crashing down.
While the try was spectacular in itself, it also set up the Sharks for a confident evening which they won’t forget in a hurry.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH:
When you score a try as your team notch eight in a comprehensive victory, then your debut doesn’t come much better.
That was the fate to sit upon the shoulders of James O’Connor, giving the Sharks fans an early taste of what is to come.
By then his side had already scored five, with his 55th-minute effort the perfect way to cap off the evening.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Steve Diamond was delighted to reflect on a dream result under the Friday night lights
“It was a freak win really.
“They capitulated a little bit didn’t they with all due respect to them.
“It is difficult when you have got five tries down, your heads do drop and it has happened to us before.
“The good thing for us is that we didn’t stop playing and we didn’t shut up shop at half-time.
“In this competition, you can win like we did tonight after conceding 40 last week.
“You have got to get used to the cattle that you are prodding.”
Johan Ackermann paid tribute to his Sale counterparts after a night to forget for Gloucester
“There is no excuse, you have to adapt defensively but you have to look at the Sharks and credit the way they lifted the tempo in that period when we had a yellow card.
“It is obviously not easy to take, it is hurting and first of all credit to the Sharks, and they used every opportunity to score points.
“The start from Sale blew us away. It was margins but brilliance as well.
“We have to look at set-phase again, they are small little margins but ones that count big.
“In the yellow card period they scored a mammoth amount of points, so we have to look at that.”
— Jason Robinson OBE (@Jason15Robinson) September 29, 2017
— Stuart Farmer (@Stu_Farmer) September 29, 2017