Sale Sharks left Franklin’s Gardens empty-handed after Samu Manoa’s hat-trick of tries and the quick feet of Ken Pisi secured a huge Northampton Saints victory.
Sale had not won in Northampton since May 2006 and were knocked off their stride from the outset, Ken Pisi first grabbing a try before turning supplier for older sibling George.
Sandwiched in between was a try for Manoa and the American’s power earned him a further two scores after the break, before Kahn Fotuali’i finished the Saints’ scoring after a Mark Jennings consolation try.
Sale immediately took the game to the Saints, Danny Cipriani kicking an early penalty to the corner before his side undid their good work by holding onto the ball.
Stephen Myler was then presented with an opportunity from the tee after the Sharks were pinged offside – and duly got Northampton up and running.
But a closely-fought first quarter of an hour was broken by Ken Pisi, his crafty footwork leaving Johnny Leota for dead before skating down the left to touch down Northampton’s first try of the afternoon.
Myler missed the conversion but five minutes later Franklin’s Gardens was celebrating again. Manoa scooped up the ball after Marc Jones overthrew a Sale lineout before plunging over the whitewash.
Cipriani stemmed the Saints tide with a penalty of his own in the 23rd minute yet Saints were only to roar further ahead.
A perfectly-weighted crossfield kick by Myler was snatched out of the air by Ken Pisi, who fed through his onrushing brother for an easy score.
But only a mammoth effort from the home side prevented the Sharks from ending the half on a high, holding out a maul on their own try-line before the whistle blew.
Northampton thought they had the bonus point wrapped up within moments of the restart through the efforts of Courtney Lawes, but the England lock was comfortably in touch.
But fellow second-row Manoa was not done scoring as replacement Phil Dowson cunningly handed the ball off from the back of a maul, allowing the American international to dive over.
And almost immediately after that effort, the Californian barged over the whitewash again – following another punishing maul – to put the reigning champions in total control.
Shortly after the hour mark Tom Brady broke from deep to spark a Jennings try but fresh from the bench, Fotuali’i collected a bobbling ball from a Northampton scrum to make the result even more emphatic.
A huge Sharks maul of their own nearly reaped reward but after consultation with the TMO, referee Andrew Small adjudged that Saints had held them up, while frantic defence to the very end kept the visitors out.