The loss of two early lineouts on their own throw should have acted as a portent of what was to follow for the visitors, whose raids were sporadic, and rarely caused any penetration into the Chiefs' 22. Mieres gave Exeter a 12th minute lead with a penalty and within five minutes had added a try to his tally. McKenzie won a lineout but a turnover was conceded. Tatupu found Scaysbrook in support to set up the score.
A further Mieres penalty on 22 minutes following a scrum offence took the Chiefs into double figures. Nick Macleod opened up his season's account four minutes later, but the referee continued to penalise the visiting scrum. On the half hour, a long Gaskell run provided an escape when he took the ball 60 metres downfield, with Tuitupou's assistance.
Danny Cipriani replaced Tuitupou, who had a slight hamstring injury, then Peel and Addison tried hard to work an opening. The tale of persistent knock ons continued and the chance was lost. Jess was almost over, but Whitten's pass was adjudged forward. The final scoring of the first half came from another Mieres penalty in the final minute.
Life didn't get any better for the Sharks on the resumption. After conceding a penalty in a ruck, the home braves kept running at them, leading to a try from Muldowney, converted by Mieres to make the score 21-3. A second Macleod penalty on 52 minutes was followed by a tryfest from the Exeter side.
Two of the four tries came when the Sharks were in trouble after their own scrum. Shoemark capitalised to set up Jess (56 mins.) and England squad flanker Johnson crossed for the home bonus point five minutes later.
With thirteen minutes left to play, Willis was put in difficulties by Barrett to set up another Jess try. Six minutes later, Leota tried to work the ball out, but Macleod was instantly closed down, allowing the Chiefs to storm back. Budgen scored, allowing Steenson a conversion.
A heaviest opening day defeat for Sale Sharks, a best-ever win for Exeter Chiefs.
Sharks' Director of Rugby Bryan Redpath said, "We gave away ten set pieces, and they scored from three of them. We gave away knock ons and possession - quite simple, really. I'm not taking anything away from Exeter, but we made it pretty easy for them. Exeter are a 'momentum' side, and we gave them plenty of momentum."
Scoring (Chiefs first): 3-0, 8-0, 11-0, 11-3, 14-3 (Half Time) 21-3, 21-6, 26-6, 31-6, 36-6, 43-6.
Sharks' scorer: Pens.: Macleod (2)
Sale Sharks: 15.Rob Miller, 14.Will Addison, 13.Johnny Leota, 12.Sam Tuitupou,11.Corne Uys, 10.Nick Macleod, 9.Dwayne Peel, 1.Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 2.Joe Ward, 3.Vadim Cobilas, 4.Richie Gray, 5.Fraser McKenzie, 6.James Gaskell, 7.David Seymour, 8.Andy Powell.
Replacements 16.Marc Jones for Ward (51), 17.Ross Harrison for Lewis-Roberts (62), 18.Tony Buckley for Cobilas (53), 19.Kearnan Myall for McKenzie (49), 20.Richie Vernon for Gray (69), 21.Cillian Willis for Peel (51), 22.Danny Cipriani for Tuitupou (32), 23.Jordan Davies for Addison (80).
|Exeter Chiefs Score Card|
|Sale Sharks Score Card|