Sharks were unbeaten in their last three Aviva Premiership fixtures having beaten Bath and Gloucester as well as securing three points in a 33-33 draw at London Irish on Easter Sunday.
Referee for the game was Luke Pearce who is the youngest referee in the Premiership and was officiating at his 13thgame at the top level. He last refereed Sharks at Gloucester last November.
Sharks started in confident fashion putting pressure on the Saints line. Saints finally cleared the danger and started to apply the pressure at the other end of the pitch. Stephen Myler opened the scoring on 12mins with a penalty 3-0. Myler doubled the lead two minutes later from 25 metres. 6-0
Saints finally breached the Sharks defence on 22 minutes when Tom Wood crashed over. Stephen Myler added the two point conversion and Sharks trailed 13-0.
Referee Pearce was penalising Sale on a regular basis and it was clear that Captain David Seymour was unhappy and was asking for regular clarification from the official.
Northampton continued to apply pressure and with Sharks struggling to clear their lines with kicks it was only a matter of time before the home side went further ahead. The second try came on 31 minutes when Lee Dickson took a quick tap and ran in for a try. Stephen Myler added the two and Sharks were in trouble, trailing 20-0.
Things went from bad to worse on 33 minutes when Luther Burrell scored for the home side after a comedy of errors in players from both sides chasing a bouncing ball! Myler missed the conversion but it was looking ominous for Sharks who had conceded 3 tries in 11 minutes. 25-0
Sale didn't give in and went in pursuit of saving their pride. From a lineout David Seymour broke clear, he passed to Tommy Taylor who in turn attempted a pass to Dwayne Peel, but the ball went into touch.
Half Time Northampton 25 Sale Sharks 0
Sale Sharks started the second half a lot better and their defence was far better than at the end of the first period.
Kearnan Myall was having a great game for Sharks, not only in the line out but also making valuable metres in attack.
It took Northampton 15 minutes before they scored their bonus point try though young winger Jamie Elliott who finished off a crossfield move. Myler's conversion attempt sailed wide but the home side led 30-0.
Try number five for Saints came on 65 minutes when substitute Ryan Lamb put in a crossfield kick over the Sale defence and Jamie Elliott gathered to score his second try of the game. Ryan Lamb's conversion attempt wasn't as accurate as his crossfield kick though, but Saints were 35-0 in front and heading for the play offs.
Try number six came from substitute James Wilson who went over in the corner. Ryan Lamb converted and Saints led 42-0.
Tom Holmes and Courtney Lawes were sin binned by the referee on 72 minutes after a free for all fight erupted in midfield. The referee took advice from his touch judge before yellow carding both players.
James Wilson scored his second try on 77 minutes. Lamb's conversion attempt failed.
James Gaskell saved the Sharks from being nilled in the final seconds after a great break by Nathan Fowles. Cipriani converted and the final whistle went shortly afterwards.
Final Score Northampton Saints 47 Sale Sharks 7
Sale Sharks: Mike Haley; Tom Brady (off 70mins), Mark Cueto (off 66 mins), Johnny Leota, Charlie Amesbury; Danny Cipriani, Dwayne Peel (off 59mins); Ross Harrison (off 49mins), Tommy Taylor (off 59mins), Henry Thomas (off 66mins); Kearnan Myall (off 49mins), Tom Holmes; Richie Vernon, David Seymour (capt, off 64mins), James Gaskell.
Replacements: Marc Jones (on for Taylor 59mins), James Flynn (on for Thomas 66mins), Aston Croall (on for Harrison 49mins), Josh Beaumont (on for Myall 49mins), James Doyle (on for Seymour 64mins), Nathan Fowles (on for Peel 59mins), Sam James (on for Cueto 66mins), Charlie Ingall (on for Brady 70mins)
Scoring Sequence (Saint first): 3-0, 6-0, 11-0, 13-0, 18-0, 20-0, 25-0 (Half Time) 30-0, 35-0, 40-0, 42-0, 47-0, 47-5, 47-7
|Northampton Saints Score Card|
|Sale Sharks Score Card|