Sale climb off foot of table after beating Newcastle

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Sale moved off the foot of the Gallagher Premiership table following a crucial 20-7 triumph over Newcastle at the AJ Bell Stadium.

It was an atrocious first half and it remained locked at 0-0 until Alan MacGinty broke the deadlock with a penalty before Will Welch responded with a try for the visitors just shy of the break.

The second period was also initially low on quality in the early stages but Sale increased the intensity and were rewarded through James Phillips and Bryn Evans tries.

Steve Diamond’s men had found their rhythm and confidence and they secured the win when Rohan Janse van Rensburg powered across the whitewash.

Newcastle would have been far happier with their performances going into the contest after running Saracens, Exeter and Wasps close, but they now replace the Sharks at the bottom after this disappointing display.

It was the hosts that threatened early with Marland Yarde and Janse van Rensburg looking dangerous.

Newcastle held firm, though, and the Sharks made several errors to end a couple of promising attacks, relieving the pressure on the visiting defence.

The Falcons were similarly struggling for continuity and the first quarter ended scoreless. It was not for a lack of effort, with the teams looking to move the ball wide, but confidence was evidently low.

Injuries also hampered the flow of the contest as Newcastle’s Vereniki Goneva and Toby Flood departed early on. That may have contributed to Sale’s first significant incursion when Josh Strauss powered through the centre of the opposition rearguard.

Under pressure, Dean Richards’ men infringed and MacGinty kicked the Sharks into a 3-0 lead.

It did not last long as the Tynesiders kept hold of the ball through the phases and Welch was on hand to touch down from close range, helping them into a 7-3 lead at the break, including a Joel Hodgson conversion.

The second period continued in much the same manner as the first with errors preventing either side from creating too many chances.

However, excitement broke out as Yarde superbly collected a Michael Young box-kick, off-loaded to Sam James and that allowed the full-back to go clear. The wing was in support of the break but was cynically taken down by Logovi’i Mulipola and the prop was duly sent to the sin-bin.

Down to 14 men, the Falcons conceded when Phillips crossed the whitewash – MacGinty converting – as the Sharks went back in front.

Sale were now in control and they almost scored again via Byron McGuigan but he dropped the ball when short of the line. Young was adjudged to have tackled him high, however, and the scrum-half was awarded a yellow card as a result.

The Sharks initially failed to benefit but last season’s semi-finalists eventually yielded as Evans went over unopposed before the hosts completed the win.

They shifted the ball wide and Janse van Rensburg rounded off the scoring with a brilliant finish, although the home team suffered a late blow when Yarde was carried off on a stretcher with a serious-looking leg injury.

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