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Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 32-5 Leicester Tigers

Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 32-5 Leicester Tigers

Sale Sharks took advantage of 14-man Leicester Tigers as they scored six tries to record a comprehensive bonus-point victory at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The hosts took a narrow 10-5 lead into the break courtesy of first-half scores from Bryn Evans and Denny Solomona, after Facundo Gigena had crossed for the visitors.

Valery Morozov stretched the lead for Steve Diamond’s men after the restart before Sione Kalamafoni saw read for an illegal clear out at the fringes of a ruck.

Further tries from Josh Beaumont and Faf de Klerk, plus a late penalty try, poured more misery on the visitors and completed a 32-5 victory.

Read more from the most exciting club rugby league in the world:

Sharks move to within two points of fourth-placed Gloucester thanks to the win, although the Cherry and Whites have a game in hand against top four rivals Harlequins on Sunday.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Valery Morozov showed exactly why Sale Sharks signed the Russian international at the beginning of the year with an impressive showing against Leicester.

The loosehead prop, formerly of Enisei-STM, was relentless all night, with his dynamic scrummaging causing problems the visitors were never able to solve.

He capped off a fine performance by crashing over the whitewash for the crucial third score – his first try for the club – just after the break as Sale stormed towards the finish line.

TRY OF THE MATCH

When Denny Solomona gets on the scoresheet it is usually a moment to savour and his first-half score was no different as he dotted down following quick hands from the hosts.

With the Sharks piling pressure on the Tigers’ defence, Arron Reed’s pace put Solomona through and the electrifying winger made no mistake as he crossed in the corner.

Solomona continued to be a threat throughout the game and appeared to score another on the cusp of half-time, only to see it ruled out due to offside in the build-up.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

The sending off of Sione Kalamafoni left Tigers will a mountain to climb to get back into the game, coming just off the back of Sale’s third try by Valery Morozov.

Tigers were 15-5 behind when referee Matthew Carley and television match official Graham Hughes ruled that the Tonga back-row forward had made an illegal clear out at a ruck.

From there on out, it was one way traffic for Sale as further tries from Josh Beaumont and Faf de Klerk, plus a penalty try in added time, sealed a comfortable victory.

WHAT THEY SAID

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond said: “It wasn’t very pretty. Fair play to Leicester, they were ravaged with injuries and international call ups. We didn’t know what we were going to play against.

“They put up a really good fight in the first half. Combined that with us, again for some reason, having a lethargy about us, making mistake after mistake after mistake.

“What Leicester wanted to do with the team they had was just to stay close and they did that for a long period of the game so I’m a bit disappointed with the first half but I thought second half we played a lot better.

“We’re going skiing tomorrow for four days with all the lads and then we go to Newcastle, which will be a massive game away at St James’ in two weeks’ time.”

Leicester Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy said: “We only had nine fit backs coming into tonight so we were down to the barebones.

“We were still in it at half-time 10-5 down and Sale’s second try was created well, they created some space and Denny Solomona looks very dangerous on the ball.

“We’ve got some big fixtures to come. Four of our last six games are at home and we’ll have some cavalry back off the back of those England bodies and some guys may come back into contention in the forwards as well.

“Hopefully we can strengthen up the forward pack with three or four bodies and strengthen up the bench then the backline will be stronger when we have the four internationals back.

“There were some positives out there tonight and everything seemed to go against us. But the boys stuck in it. One of the character traits of this team is that we stay in it and we keep fighting.”

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