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Match Report: Bath Rugby 33 Sale Sharks 32

24 Feb 2018
Match Report: Bath Rugby 33 Sale Sharks 32

Zach Mercer’s late try and James Wilson’s nerveless conversion snatched a dramatic Aviva Premiership Rugby victory for Bath Rugby against Sale Sharks.

The hosts had trailed for much of the tospy-turvy contest and were six points down in the final minutes before the blindside flanker struck for his brace.

After more than 20 phases of attack and quick hands from Ben Tapuai, Mercer dummied over in the 78th minute to make it 32-31 to the visitors.

Versatile Kiwi Wilson was starting his first match at fly-half for Bath and his crucial conversion was by no means simple, but he held his nerve to slot his seventh goal of the game.

The visitors quickly repelled Bath’s early attacks and when Will Addison stepped his way past Matt Garvey there was no stemming the tide of Sharks attacks which followed.

Deadly Denny Solomona popped up and had too much speed and agility for Josh Bayliss and Henry Thomas as he scored the opening try of the game in the 14th minute.

Sharks’ second was slick but simple. Attacking off a lineout, Ben Curry found de Klerk, who got on the outside of Wilson to create an overlap, with quick hands sending Marland Yarde through.

Penalties were exchanged before Mercer gave the home fans something to cheer. Lurking on the left shoulder of Taulupe Faletau – making his first appearance since suffering knee ligament damage in December – he latched onto a cute pass and cantered under the posts.

The hosts began to rally and, after Will Hurrell and Ross Batty went close, Josh Bayliss made no mistake as he stepped inside Sam James following a tip on.

One point separated the teams when Sharks had a scrum on their 22m not much looked on, but de Klerk went blind at pace before sending Solomona away.

He didn’t break stride as he took the pass, outpaced Aled Brew, chipped and gathered to score.

It meant Bath needed to strike late for victory and, having twice lost by a point at home this season, this time they were on the winning end.

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