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Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 13-31 Wasps

Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 13-31 Wasps

Wasps got their third win from four in the Gallagher Premiership as they emerged from the AJ Bell stadium with victory for the first time, beating Sale Sharks 31-13.

Tries from Nizaam Carr and Josh Bassett turned the game on its head in the first-half after Jono Ross had given the hosts an early lead.

And second-period scores from Will Stuart and Nathan Hughes sealed the bonus point that maintains the side’s impressive start to the campaign.

Sharks, however, have now won only once in the Gallagher Premiership since they beat Wasps back in April.

Man of the match

In a game that was a best described as a war of attrition peppered with moments of individual brilliance, it was Wasps’ fullback Willie le Roux who proved the key for Wasps.

Whilst he didn’t score himself, his contributions at crucial moments were what took the game to Sale.

A masterful assist for Carr saw him break the Sharks’ line and provide a smart offload to his teammate to score, just in the nick of time.

And it was a fine exchange with Josh Bassett that saw him free in behind Sale, prompting Tom Curry to impede him off the ball, and the Sale man’s resultant sin-bin would prove crucial in deciding things as Stuart crossed minutes later.

Moment of the match:

Wasps were up by four with just five minutes gone in the second half and the match looked well poised, but Tom Curry’s sin-bin proved to be the turning point in the match.

When good work from Willie le Roux on the run saw him stretching for a pass on the charge in the Sale 22, Curry interfered, holding the Wasps man back.

Referee Wayne Barnes rightfully called the pass as forward, but Curry was sent to the bin for his infraction.

Just a minute later Will Stuart went over from a ruck, building a lead that Wasps would never relinquish.

Try of the match:

A beautiful spell of passing rugby saw Wasps finally announce themselves in the game with just five minutes of the first half remaining.

Magical vision from Michael Le Bourgeois put le Roux through a slight gap in the Sale line.

He displayed jinky footwork to step past a couple of Sharks tackles, before offloading just as he was felled metres short of the line.

It was Carr who proved the beneficiary of that pass, crashing over gratefully to put the finishing touches to a delightful move.

What they said:

Steve Diamond, Sale Sharks’ director of rugby, said:

“I just think we got beat up a little bit by the Wasps forwards. First-half I thought the breakdown was okay for us, but I thought in the scrum we were dominated.

“They must have had – without looking at stats – seven or eight penalties and free-kicks at scrums. We’re not going to win many games with that like it is, so we’ve got a lot to do.

“We let the game get away from us in the last ten minutes of the first-half, I felt we were playing pretty well until then.

“And then second-half I thought we were taught a lesson. We were camped on their line for several scrums and couldn’t get over the line.

“Quite a lot of things that we’ve done in training haven’t gone to plan and we’ve just got to re-evaluate what we’re doing – it may be a little bit too difficult what we’re trying to do in the game for some of our players at the moment.”

Dai Young, Wasps’ director of rugby, said:

“We were good for it. It wasn’t a perfect performance by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s certainly a monkey off our back and, to come away with five points, we can’t get much better than that.

“I’m really pleased because it’s a difficult place to come, as we all know, and it’s proved too difficult for us in the past, but it was great to just get that win.

“Willie Le Roux is back next week playing international rugby. Obviously, he’s been excellent for South Africa, came back and wanted to play.

“He felt he needed to get the jersey on and play, and it’s been quite a while since he last put it on, but he slotted straight back in. That’s what you find with world-class players.”

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