Sale Sharks visit to the Kassam was their third, and on the previous two occasions they have won a trophy! 2002 and 2005 saw Sharks lift the European Challenge Cup with wins over Pontypridd and Pau respectively.
The only playing survivor of both previous visits was Mark Cueto who is in his 12thseason at the club, and his try against Exeter last week was his record breaking 76thin the Premiership.
Sharks arrived at the Kassam having won their last three games whereas London Welsh had only won one of their previous nine outings.
Many Sale Sharks supporters had made the 150+ mile drive from the North West for what both sides had billed a 'Must Win Game.'
The early exchanges were even before Cipriani put Sharks ahead on 8 minutes with a penalty.
Welsh scrum half Alex Davies and Gavin Henson then shared kicking duties with Davies kicking two more and Henson landing a monster penalty from wide out on the half way line as Welsh started to build a lead to 12-3.
Sharks then turned things around in the last five minutes of the first half. On 36 minutes Cipriani slotted a penalty in off the post 12-6 and then Sharks scored a great try.
Amesbury and Cipriani combined well with some great interchange passing before sending Will Cliff in for his first try of the season. Cipriani converted to give Sharks a slender but crucial half time lead.
Half Time London Welsh 12 Sale Sharks 13
Dan Braid increased Sharks lead on 41 minutes with his second try for the club which Cipriani converted (12-20)
Welsh were far from finished though and McKenzie with a try, and a Henson conversion followed by a penalty put the Exiles back in front at 22-20.
Henson increased the lead on 58 minutes and Sharks were in danger of losing the game.
A Cipriani penalty on the hour cut the lead to 25-23 and when Macleod (a substitute for Cipriani) kicked a penalty on 71 minutes Sharks were back in front 25-26.
Welsh never say die attitude saw them try to get their noses back in front. It wasn't to be and Sharks closed the gap on Irish to one point and three behind London Welsh.
The Sharks players applauded the travelling fans after the game. The fans were magnificent throughout the game and went home happy.
Sale Sharks have now won their last 4 consecutive games in their battle to remain in rugby union's top flight. Cheer on the North West's Aviva Premiership rugby team at Salford City Stadium against Harlequins on Friday 22nd February. Book your tickets now by calling 08444994994 or book your tickets online.
Final Score London Welsh 25 Sale Sharks 26
Sale: Cameron Shepherd; Charlie Amesbury, Johnny Leota, Sam Tuitupou, Mark Cueto; Danny Cipriani (off 65mins), Will Cliff (off 59mins); Alasdair Dickinson (off 65mins), Marc Jones (off 53mins), Henry Thomas (off 65mins); Richie Gray, Tom Holmes (off 53mins); Dan Braid, David Seymour (capt) (off 66mins), James Gaskell.
Replacements: Tommy Taylor (on for Jones 53mins), Ross Harrison (on for Dickinson 65mins), Eifion Lewis Roberts (on for Thomas 65mins), Andy Powell (on for Holmes 53mins), Richie Vernon (on for Seymour 66mins), Cillian Willis (on for Cliff 59mins), Nick Macleod (on for Cipriani 65mins), Will Addison.
Scoring Sequence (Welsh first): 0-3, 3-3, 6-3, 9-3, 12-3, 12-6, 12-11, 12-13 (Half Time) 12-18, 12-20, 15-20, 20-20, 22-20, 25-20, 25-23, 25-26 (Full Time)
|London Welsh Score Card|
|Sale Sharks Score Card|