Sale Sharks take a dramatic last minute victory at the AJ Bell Stadium over visitors Wasps under the Friday night lights.
A 90th minute Marland Yarde try in Manchester sees Sale hold fast against visiting side Wasps.
Wasps got off to a storming start at the AJ Bell this evening, scoring 21 unanswered points through two Josh Bassett tries and a 50 metre Elliot Daly penalty within 17 minutes.
Sale were slow to build into the game, but by the 25th minute were winning every collision, finding gaps and offloads off runners shoulders. Captain Jono Ross led from the front alongside fellow South African-born barnstormer Josh Strauss and Sale Academy product Ross Harrison.
A well-timed running line and spin out of contact from former England hooker Rob Webber saw the home side open their try-scoring account for the night, setting in motion a flurry of points that saw Sale go from 0-17 to 23-17 within 20 minutes.
Wasps had seemed to begin to swing the scoreline back in their favour, with Elliot Daly crossing for his side’s third try following a hard-fought linebreak by electric wing Christian Wade, retaking the lead at 23-24.
Two yellow cards for Danny Cipriani and James Haskell brought about an uphill battle too steep for the Midlands men to climb. Yarde crossed for the game winning score after a lengthy break in play for a nasty clash of heads between Faf de Klerk, Dan Robson and Cipriani, with the latter coming off worst. The former England fly-half was stretchered off the pitch having been knocked out cold with the head of de Klerk.
Sale's dominance in the contact area proved to be the difference on the day, with the Wasps defence failing to shut down the likes of Ross, Strauss, Harrison, Webber and Sam James on the game line.
American international fly-half AJ MacGinty had one of his best games in a Sharks jersey to date, putting his body on the line as effectively as some of his own pack in attack and defence and pulling the strings alongside de Klerk that orchestrated the Sharks march up the guts of the Wasps defence.
Wasps’ spirits will be low during their long bus journey back to the Midlands, but could have been the other side of the night's result had Cipriani not batted the ball out of de Klerk's hands whilst on the floor for his yellow card. Haskell's sin-binning had a feel of calculated risk and necessity about it, slowing down Sharks' ball when the home side seemed like scoring the game winner. Something the England openside does so effectively every week.
Sale have done their playoff ambitions no harm with their bonus point victory this evening, while Wasps may have lost the chance of a home-semi final and a portion of their security in the top four within a jam-packed league.
We move on to tomorrow afternoon’s televised fixture between Bath and Leicester Tigers in 'The Clash' at Twickenham. Be sure not to miss the 2 pm kick-off on BT Sport and Channel 5 and to keep a keen eye out for our post-game analysis.
Sale Sharks scorers
Tries: Webber, McGuigan, Evans, Yarde
Conversions: MacGinty (1/4)
Penalties: MacGinty (2/3)
Tries: Bassett (2), Daly
Conversions: Gopperth (3/3)
Penalties: Daly (1), Gopperth (1)
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