Sale Sharks ended their three-game winless run in Aviva Premiership Rugby as Sam James scored two tries in a comeback-win against fellow bottom-half side Worcester Warriors.
After 20 minutes it seemed as though Worcester were on course for a first away win of the season as Francois Hougaard and Joseph Taufete’e scored.
But James produced an inspired performance to drag Sale to a much-needed win as they bounced back from losing their last three league matches.
Worcester Warriors’ only victory in the last four rounds was 41-24 at home to Bristol Rugby in March – and after going behind on the 20-minute mark, they struggled to contain Sale.
— Sale Sharks (@SaleSharksRugby) April 7, 2017
The hosts started like an express train and opened the scoring after only six minutes as Denny Solomona – who last week announced he was available for England selection – created the opening.
The winger made an incisive break downfield, picking a loose ball, and James was the beneficiary going in under the posts, with AJ MacGinty adding the extras.
Just four minutes later Worcester drew level as Perry Humphreys and Ben Te’o combined for the impressive Hougaard to scurry over, with Ryan Mills adding the conversion.
And after soaking up early pressure, it was Worcester who got their noses in front as Taufete’e was the recipient of a powerful driving maul to score after 18 minutes.
In a hugely entertaining first half, Sale roared back and scored their second try of the night; James dotted down following a clever grubber-kick for the Sharks’ 1000th Aviva Premiership Rugby try.
It got even better for Sale before the break as Mike Haley added their third, racing in under the posts with a comfortable score after slack Warriors’ defending. MacGinty continued his good form off the tee.
Humphreys thought he had scored Worcester’s third on 56 minutes but MacGinty and James did brilliantly well to hold their opponent up over the try-line.
Worcester were rocked on 63 minutes as Sale’s Byron McGuigan produced a mesmeric piece of skill to clinch the Sharks’ bonus point score.
We’ll see you back at Sixways a week Saturday as we host Bath Rugby in the Big Easter Bash! #WeAreWarriors
— Worcester Warriors🏉 (@WorcsWarriors) April 7, 2017
The flying winger scored his sixth Aviva Premiership Rugby try in 23 appearances for Sale as he kicked over the Worcester defence and then showed explosive pace to collect the ball and score – MacGinty missed the tough conversion from the touchline.
Halani Aulika was yellow carded on 67 minutes and the numerical advantage handed Worcester a lifeline and they grabbed it with both hands.
Fly-half Ryan Lamb was the architect of the score, his long pass picking out former England international Chris Pennell to touch down, with Lamb then adding the extras to bring the Warriors back to within striking distance of the home side.
With Worcester’s pressure building, MacGinty extended Sale’s advantage to eight points as the Sharks looked to take the sting out of the visitor’s comeback.
And with just three minutes left Ben Curry ensured it was a comfortable Sale win as he touched down for his first league score, poaching the ball from a Worcester defensive line-out and running in from close range – MacGinty again adding the extras off the tee to make it 36-21.
But Worcester scored a last-gasp try to record an all-important bonus point as Biyi Alo touched down with the help of the TMO, with Lamb missing his late kick at goal.
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