Sale Sharks kicked off towards the North End and straight away the strong wind was evident in that Danny Cipriani's kick went dead. The scrum on the half way line saw Sharks awarded a penalty and Dan Braid immediately opted for another scrum. Penalty again and this time Danny Cipriani opted to go for goal but his kick sailed wide.
Penalties being awarded faster than one a minute and the strong wind were the early winners as both sides looked to settle.
The deadlock was broken on 19 minutes after Danny Cipriani put in a right footed kick which popped up viciously for Fenby who missed it completely. Tom Brady took full advantage and ran in for the opening try. Danny Cipriani's conversion was well struck and Sharks led 7-0.
On 23 minutes Sharks lost Mark Jennings with a leg injury and Phil Mackenzie took his place. Cueto moved to centre with Mackenzie on the wing. Cueto played centre earlier in the season with great success.
Sharks went further ahead on 27 minutes when Paterson pinched a lineout and the Sharks set up the now famous driving maul. David Seymour touched down to increase the lead to 12-0. Danny Cipriani's conversion attempt was caught by the wind and finished well off target. The wind was increasing all the time and this was evident when O'Leary's restart ended up behind him!
Tom Brady put in a terrific run on 32 minutes flicking off defenders and was unlucky not to go all the way to the line. Brady's confidence levels are very high with some terrific performances of late.
On the stroke of half time Sharks were awarded a penalty on the half line and Cipriani opted to kick for goal. Sadly the wind had to big a say in his attempt and the ball sailed wide.
Half Time Sale Sharks 12 London Irish 0
The conditions were even worse when the game restarted and London Irish soon found out that even slightly over hit kicks went dead. On 43 minutes Sale won a penalty at the scrum. Danny Cipriani opted to go for goal but his usual efficiency with his place kicks were being hampered by the wind as his attempt was wide.
Mackenzie made a break for Sale before losing his footing; the ball was then taken up by Paterson who also lost his footing. Shortly afterwards London Irish were penalised at the scrum and Cipriani lined up his kick, took his time and slotted the ball home 15-0.
London Irish made several substitutions before the restart as they tried to get a foothold in the game.
On 51 minutes Hala'ufia was sin binned for a tip tackle on David Seymour after referee Wigglesworth took a second opinion from the TMO. Irish then put together their best phases before they were penalised for holding on in the tackle.
The crowd of 6823 were enjoying the game despite the horrible conditions of a swirling wind and persistent rain.
London Irish earned a penalty on 67 minutes and Ian Humphreys opted to goal for goal 40 metres out. His kick was perfect and Irish were on the board at 15-3.
Sale tried to add to their lead and set up a driving maul from a lineout. Irish pulled the maul down and referee Wigglesworth awarded Sharks a penalty. Dan Braid opted for the scrum and the Sale forwards smashed the Irish scrum. Referee Wigglesworth had a word with the Irish front three before resetting the scrum. Irish won a penalty of their own at the re-set but valuable minutes had been taken up and made sure Sharks had secured the game points and moved up to sixth place in the Aviva Premiership on the evening
Rob Miller, Tom Brady, Mark Jennings (Off 23 mins), Sammy Tuitupou, Mark Cueto, Danny Cipriani, Dwayne Peel (Off 66 mins), Ross Harrison (Off 53 mins), Tommy Taylor (Off 53 mins), Vadim Cobilas (Off 53 mins), Jonathan Mills (Off 53 mins), Michael Paterson, Dan Braid, David Seymour, James Gaskell
Replacements: Marc Jones (On for Taylor 53 mins), Eifion Lewis-Roberts (On for Ross Harrison 57 mins), Henry Thomas (On for Cobilas 53 mins), Kirill Kulemin, Andrei Ostrikov (On for Mills 53 mins), Will Cliff (On for Peel 66 mins), Joe Ford, Phil Mckenzie (On for Jennings 23 mins)
Scoring sequence: 5-0, 7-0, 12-0 (Half Time) 15-0 15-3
|Sale Sharks Score Card|
|London Irish Score Card|