Sale Sharks travelled to London Irish looking to win against The Exiles, at The Madejski, for the first time since October 2006. Irish had put a run of form together in the Aviva Premiership and their last defeat at 'The Mad Stad' was at home to Leicester Tigers just before Christmas.
Sharks won the game at Salford back in November by 21 points to 9 with Nick Macleod and Jonny Leota scoring tries. That win was Sharks first of the season in the Premiership.
Sharks were soon on the defensive after Henry Thomas won a line out one handed but when he passed to Peel, Dwayne's clearance kick was charged down. Shepherd cleared the danger but Irish took advantage from the resultant line out and Guy Armitage touched down. Homer converted and Sharks were 7-0 down after only three minutes.
Sharks hit back and Charlie Amesbury made some serious metres. Sharks won a penalty as Irish panicked. Nick Macleod kicked the penalty to put Sharks on the board at 7-3.
On nine minutes big prop Halani Aulika scored Irish's second try with ease. Homer converted and Sharks were trailing 14-3. The big prop has a knack of scoring tries and he took his opportunity well.
David Paice was binned on 19 mins for a technical offence, Sharks scored a try through Henry Thomas with his first try of the season and Macleod's conversion put Sharks right back in the game at 14-10.
Sharks scored their second try on 26 minutes after great work by Dickinson,Tuitupou, Shepherd and Jones whose efforts created space for Mark Cueto to touch down. Macleod missed his conversion but Sharks led for the first time in the game 14-15.
Sharks were penalised at the scrum on 31 minutes and Irish full back Tom Homer had no problem with the kick to put Irish back in front at 17-15.
Homer increased the Irish lead two minutes later when Myall was adjudged not to have released the ball after being tackled. Homer kicked a huge penalty from the half way line to put the hosts 20-15 in front.
Sharks were conceding too many penalties at this stage and referee Garner warned David Seymour about the Sharks transgressions.
Sharks scored their third try on the stroke of half time through Kearnan Myall in the corner. Macleod converted perfectly to give Sharks a 20-22 half time lead.
Half Time London Irish 20 Sale Sharks 22
Nick Macleod scored the first points of second half with a huge 45 metre penalty.
Sharks 4thtry of the afternoon came a minute later when James Gaskell stretched out his long arm to touch down. Macleod's conversion drifted wide but Sharks led 20-30
Irish hit back on 53 minutes when Lahiff was awarded a try by the TMO and Homer converted 27-30. Homer levelled the scores a minute later with another huge penalty from 50 metres.
Sharks started to use their replacements as the tempo of the game was increasing and it was still all to play for. Irish butchered a 3-1 overlap on 65 minutes when they should have scored. A minute later Irish went back in front with a 40 metre penalty from Homer after Tommy Taylor was pinged for a high tackle 33-30.
Sharks were desperate to get more from the game and their efforts were rewarded in the final minute when Nick Macleod booted over a penalty to level things up. Sharks three points (two for the draw and one for four tries) put them on 26, which is eight in front of London Welsh
Final Score London Irish 33 Sale Sharks 33
Sale: Cameron Shepherd; Charlie Amesbury, Johnny Leota, Sam Tuitupou (off 60mins), Mark Cueto; Nick Macleod, Dwayne Peel; Alasdair Dickinson (off 54mins), Marc Jones (off 54mins), Henry Thomas (off 66mins), Kearnan Myall, Andrei Ostrikov, Dan Braid (off 54mins), Dave Seymour, James Gaskell.
Replacements: Tommy Taylor (on for Jones 54mins), Ross Harrison (on for Dickinson 54mins), Tony Buckley (on for Thomas 66mins), Tom Holmes, Richie Vernon (on for Braid 54mins), Nathan Fowles, Danny Cipriani, Tom Brady (on for Tuitupou 60mins).
Scoring Sequence (Irish first): 5-0, 7-0, 7-3, 12-3, 14-3, 14-8, 14-10, 14-15, 17-15, 20-15, 20-20, 20-22 (Half Time) 20-25, 20-30, 25-30, 27-30, 30-30, 33-30, 33-33 (Full Time)
|London Irish Score Card|
|Sale Sharks Score Card|