London Welsh made it back-to-back Aviva Premiership wins with a 29-19 success at Salford City Stadium to hand Sale Sharks a fourth defeat in as many games this season.
Tries from skipper Jonathan Mills and Ed Jackson helped the Exiles into an early lead and despite Tom Brady’s second-half score for the Sharks, Lyn Jones’ side hung on to move up to sixth in the table.
The defeat means that Sale are still searching for a first success under Bryan Redpath and it was a catastrophic opening half, in which they conceded 23 points, which proved costly.
Fresh from their first-ever Aviva Premiership victory over Exeter Chiefs five days ago the Exiles made a fantastic start in Salford.
They raced into a 13-0 lead after just eight minutes courtesy of two penalties from fly-half Gordon Ross, either side of a try from captain Mills.
The try came as Welsh moved the ball well from a line out in Sale’s 22. The home side held up the visitors just short of their goal line but couldn’t hold out as Mills crossed to the right of the posts and Ross added the conversion.
Sale had the chance to claw back some points straight away but Danny Cipriani’s penalty was wayward.
As both sides struggled with a greasy ball and slippy surface, Sale continued to pressurise and forced three penalties, all of which Cipriani converted to bring the score back to 13-9 to the visitors.
London Welsh hit back almost immediately through the boot of Ross and further extended their lead with five minutes of the first half remaining as Jackson, who got the all-important late score against Exeter, crossed for a try.
The break began with a blistering run down the right wing from Welsh full-back Tom Arscott before he was stopped inside the 22. The Exiles recycled the ball well and Jackson dived over to score with Ross kicking the conversion.
Sharks nearly scored a try of their own in the dying second of the first half but the visiting defence stood firm under intense pressure to turn the ball over and clear their lines as Welsh went in 23-9 up at the break.
London Welsh lost their captain after just six minutes of the second half as Mills was forced off through injury and replaced by Kirill Kulemin.
Ross kicked a simple penalty to extend the Exiles’ lead to 26-9 and Cipriani was replaced by Nick Macleod with half an hour to play, as Sharks searched for a way back into the game.
The second half was now being played almost exclusively in the visitors’ half and after ten minutes of relentless Sharks pressure they finally crossed for a try.
After being held up in front of the posts Sale switched the ball out to the left flank for Brady to score in the corner and Macleod converted from tight to the touchline to make the score 26-16.
Sale lost their scrum-half Dwayne Peel with 15 minutes remaining to what looked like a serious shoulder injury and he was replaced by Will Cliff.
Macleod reduced the deficit to seven points with just ten minutes remaining but a long-range penalty from the former Scotland international Ross with the final kick of the game sealed the victory for the Exiles and denied Sale a losing bonus point in the process.