Rob Miller and Dan Braid scored two tries each as Sale Sharks defeated Gloucester Rugby 24-19 to keep their pursuit of an Aviva Premiership play-off place firmly on course.
Gloucester scored two first-half tries through wingers Martyn Thomas and Charlie Sharples but were outscored by Miller’s double and Braid’s first as Sale held a 17-10 half-time advantage.
The Cherry & Whites’ hopes of re-taking the lead were not helped by yellow cards to James Hudson and Sila Puafisi either side of the break and Sale took full advantage.
Braid crossed for his second of the game soon after Gloucester were reduced to 13 men, though Freddie Burns showed great character to slot three penalties to earn the visitors a losing bonus point.
Gloucester flew out the traps from the kick-off and were rewarded inside two minutes when Jimmy Cowan’s well-placed grubber kick found winger Thomas who went over in the corner.
Sale responded quickly and they levelled the scores when Miller pounced after the home side had gone through the phases.
Miller struck again five minutes later when he burst through the Gloucester defence to score his second of the evening.
Danny Cipriani was unable to land either conversion in a swirling wind and Miller then missed a penalty before Mark Cueto misjudged a bouncing ball after quick-thinking from Burns which allowed Sharples to go over and level the game up.
However, the game turned when Gloucester captain Hudson was yellow carded three minutes before the break and within a minute Braid emerged from a pile of bodies to claim Sale’s third try.
The opening minutes of the second-half mirrored the end of the second with Puafisi the man to depart to the sin bin as Braid again snatched the initiative with his second try of the game once Sale had driven him over.
Cipriani converted both scores for his only points of the match after the Sharks had secured the bonus point that would ultimately take them up to fifth.
Burns slotted a penalty to reduce the deficit and with 15 men Gloucester threatened to score again but were forced to settle for two more penalties from their fly-half as their losing run in the north-west was extended to 12 years.
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