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Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 35-18 Sale Sharks

15 Sep 2018
Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 35-18 Sale Sharks

Alex Cuthbert got his first try for Exeter Chiefs as they fought hard to conquer Sale Sharks at Sandy Park and go top of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby table.

Santiago Cordero, Jonny Hill, Jack Maunder and Tom Lawday made sure Exeter gained a bonus-point win, but Sale refused to lie down.

Scores from Marland Yarde and Bryn Evans made sure Chiefs had to dig deep for the victory, but ultimately last year’s finalists proved too strong for the visitors.

Chiefs battled hard to earn their third victory, the first time the Devon club has been triumphant in their opening three matches of a top-flight campaign.

AJ MacGinty got Sale on the board first, but it was the hosts who dotted down the opening try after Joe Simmonds broke through and unleashed to Cordero, who got his second in two weeks.

Sharks responded as MacGinty hit another penalty after Ollie Atkins was penalised for a high tackle on Byron McGuigan, before the fly-half chipped through for Yarde to latch on and find a way over in the corner to score his ninth try in ten Gallagher Premiership Rugby games.

But Exeter hit back with Hill smashing his way over from a metre out after a patient build up, pick and drive, with Simmonds converting.

The hosts got another as Maunder finished off a slick move after Henry Slade glided round the Sale defence and unselfishly popped inside.

The fluidity broke down when an Exeter maul from a lineout resulted in a brawl, for which Hill and Sale captain Jono Ross were sent to the bin.

Sale refused to let the game slip and cut the gap to three points as Paolo Odogwu broke through a Cuthbert tackle and the ball made its way to Evans to touch down, but MacGinty couldn’t add the extras.

Cuthbert instantly made amends by standing Odogwu up in the left corner and diving over to give the hosts the bonus point with 15 minutes left to play.

Sale pushed for the losing bonus point at Sandy Park but it wasn’t to be as Chiefs closed them out late on.

Then Lawday sealed the game form close range with a fifth try for the hosts as they worked the ball well round the corner, before Steenson added the extras.

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