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Sale Sharks 46 London Welsh 8

20 Sep 2014
Sale Sharks 46 London Welsh 8

Tom Arscott’s hat-trick propelled Sale Sharks to their first win of the season and condemned London Welsh to their third consecutive Aviva Premiership Rugby loss.

The former Exile dotted down in both halves, the first coming within three minutes of the opening kickoff, with a Vadim Cobilas score also coming before half-time.

Nic Reynolds picked up what turned out to be a consolation try for Welsh, who conceded fewer than 50 points for the first time this season, early in the second half when his side were in the ascendancy.

Tom Brady added the bonus-point fourth try late for Sale in the game, followed soon after by Arscott’s third and one from Luke McLean in the space of six minutes.

The Exiles’ last Aviva Premiership Rugby away win came at the AJ Bell Stadium in 2012, but they got off to the worst possible start in their attempt to repeat that feat.

Sale took the early lead through an Arscott try in the left corner from a flowing move which had Danny Cipriani, who scored 13 points on the day, at the heart of it.

Welsh struggled to break through the Sale defence, but an offside against the Sharks on their own 22 gave Olly Barkley the chance to get the Exiles on the board, which he gratefully took.

Kicking issues plagued the Exiles’ opening 20 minutes, with Piri Weepu and Barkley guilty of a lack of accuracy to provide the Sharks plenty of opportunities to attack.

Barkley’s error gave the Sharks a scrum inside the Welsh half, with the hosts then winning a further penalty which they kicked to touch in search of more tries, but a handling error stifled Sale’s attack.

The Exiles fly-half then missed a chance to put his side ahead for the first time this season, seeing his penalty from just inside the Sale half drift wide.

Sale made Welsh pay just minutes later by crossing the whitewash for their second try of the game.

Moldovan forward Cobilas bundled over the line, with Cipriani stroking home the conversion to put the Sharks 12-3 ahead.

The Sharks nearly twisted the dagger as Arscott darted through the Welsh defence, handing off to Chris Cusiter before a rogue Exiles hand managed to bat the ball off Mark Easter and out the back of the end zone.

Exiles lock Dean Schofield was shown a yellow card with 90 seconds left in the first half for bringing down the maul, a penalty which saw Cipriani extend the lead to 15-3 from the tee.

Sale started the second half as they finished the first – with a Cipriani penalty adding three more points to their lead.

Every Welsh attack was shut down by Sale, including a steal by Magnus Lund, on his first start since returning to the North West from Biarritz, close to the Sharks’ line.

But the Exiles finally were rewarded for their persistence with a try in the corner from centre Reynolds, confirmed by the TMO, bringing his side back to 18-8.

In a more attritional half, the Sharks had to wait until the 66th minute to once again stamp their authority on the game, with Arscott going over for his second try of the game.

Cipriani added the extras to push Sale 18 points ahead and the Sharks set off in search of their bonus-point try.

And it eventually came through Brady, capping off an impressive counter-attack from man-of-the-match Arscott down the left.

The winger sealed his hat-trick two minutes later to top off his dominant performance, before McLean rubbed salt in the Welsh wounds in the final seconds after a bundling run from Andrei Ostrikov.

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