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Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 20-7 Newcastle Falcons

Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 20-7 Newcastle Falcons

Sale Sharks ran in three second-half tries to leapfrog opponents Newcastle Falcons and climb off the foot of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby table.

The Sharks trailed 7-3 when Falcons captain Will Welch crashed over the line just before half-time but the visitors wouldn’t score another point at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Instead, second-row duo James Phillips and Bryn Evans crossed before centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg powered his way over to secure a 20-7 triumph – the first time in the last 11 meetings between the sides that the margin of victory has been greater than eight points.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Marland Yarde suffered a nasty-looking injury towards the end of the game – later confirmed to be a dislocated knee – and that was all the more frustrating given his superb performance to that point.

The Sale winger was a constant thorn in Newcastle’s side and looked dangerous with ball in hand – compiling 68 metres on nine carries and beating a game-high six defenders.

He also assisted Bryn Evans’ try with a quick-thinking pass to the lock out wide, while one burst down the wing resulted in a trip from Logovi’i Mulipola, which earned the Falcon a yellow card and enabled the Sharks to get their first try shortly after.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Both of the Falcons’ second-half yellow cards were game-changers as they ultimately played half the second period with 14 men but James Phillips’ score was all-important to get Sale going.

Trailing 7-3 at the break, the Sharks made sure to take advantage of Mulipola’s 52nd-minute yellow card almost immediately as they mauled well and the forwards went through the phases to put the hosts just a metre away from the try-line.

It wasn’t necessarily pretty but eventually Phillips’ pick-and-go from close range enabled him to burrow over and AJ MacGinty’s conversion gave them a lead they would never surrender.

TRY OF THE MATCH

Rohan Janse van Rensburg’s 72nd-minute score sealed victory for Sale and capped an impressive all-round display.

The South African is one of the most powerful centres in Gallagher Premiership Rugby and demonstrated this as he took the ball just outside the Newcastle 22, burst through one tackle, handed off a second defender and rumbled over the whitewash.

A moment of quality from the powerhouse in his first start of the season.

WHAT THEY SAID

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond said: “[Yarde’s injury] is just horrendous. It’s not nice to see –we can see it again but we won’t be watching that again.

“It’s a horrendous injury, dislocation of the knee by the looks of it so we’ll see what the specialist says. He’s going to hospital now but it does certainly take the glean off an alright performance.

“Newcastle are a top-four side, though ourselves and them are not in as much form as we would have hoped.

“It is most definitely the strongest league I’ve coached in, in the 17 or 18 years I’ve been coaching – you have to get your own wins and I’m delighted we got that.

“It’s good to get off the bottom of the league. To go into the European break now off the bottom is psychologically good for us.”

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “We were happy with the half-time lead and we were doing ok.

“But we’re not happy with the performance from about 30 minutes onwards, and there’s a couple of reasons behind that, including the two yellow cards.

“Sometimes you’ve got to create your own luck and we didn’t do that. Fair do’s to Sale, I think they played well with the intensity they wanted to and needed on the day. After 20-25 minutes they probably needed to do something different and they did.”

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