Sharks went into the game hoping to finish on a high after a season which can only be described as a season of two halves. Pre Christmas the team languished at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership, adrift from the other eleven clubs. However, under Steve Diamond's leadership the team turned the corner in dramatic fashion and were hoping to finish at least tenth maybe ninth if they could secure a bonus point win.
Their opponents, Wasps, were on a losing run stretching back to mid February whereas earlier in the season Wasps were looking to book a top four place.
The clubs had met twice this season prior to the game at the Salford City Stadium. Last December Sharks gained a crucial losing bonus point with a last minute Jonny Leota try and Rob Miller conversion and in February Sharks inflicted Wasps first home defeat with a 33-30 win in the LV Cup, which gained Sharks a home semi final against Saracens.
The game started briskly in fine, dry conditions although the wind was strong. Sharks were soon on the attack and making inroads into Wasps territory.
Sharks took the lead on six minutes after some wonderful passing amongst the players orchestrated by Dwayne Peel and finished with Dan Braid putting Tom Brady in at the corner. Nick Macleod's conversion attempt looked good all the way till it caught the breeze, bounced on the crossbar and back into the field of play. 5-0
Wasps first chance of points came on 15 minutes with a penalty. Tommy Bell the ex Sharks Academy player stepped up to take it but his attempt was wide of the target. Four minutes later however Christian Wade made a clean break and scored a try for the visitors. Tommy Bell converted so Wasps led 5-7.
Sharks went back into the lead on 21 minutes with a wonderful opportunist try. The Sale pack smashed the Wasps defence near their own line and Braid pounced on the loose ball. Macleod converted and Sharks led 12-7.
Macleod hit the woodwork for the second time on 35 minutes with a 30metre penalty attempt.
Sharks finished the half on the offensive and were awarded three penalties. Instead of opting for kicks at goal the players chose to run the ball in an attempt to score more tries but a knock on ended the half.
Half Times Sale Sharks 12 Wasps 7
The second half started and it was all Sharks who tried to break down the Wasps defence. Will Addison and Sammy Tuitupou both went close but a promising move with an overlap broke down when Marc Jones knocked on. Sharks were camped in the Wasps half permanently but their only reward was a penalty from Nick Macleod on 55 minutes 15-7.
The penalty seemed to wake Wasps up and full back Southwell made a piercing break through the Sharks defence which ended with Wade scoring his second try on 57 minutes. Bell converted and it was suddenly game on at 15-14.
Sharks then started to introduce their replacements on a regular basis in an effort to freshen things up.
The crowd of 9783, the biggest of the season were willing Sharks on, hoping they could win the game and climb the table.
However it was Wasps who went into lead with a Tommy Bell penalty on 62 minutes 15-17.
Sharks went back into the lead with a Nick Macleod penalty on 66 minutes when Wasps forward Romano was penalised and sin binned 20 metres from his own line 18-17.
Although down to 14 men Wasps were not finished and scrum half Simpson made an incredible run through the Sharks defence. He was held up near the line but the referee awarded a penalty which Tommy Bell kicked to restore Wasps lead at 18-20.
Sharks rallied and had a chance to go back in front on 75 minutes after Wasps were penalised at the line out. Macleod lined up his kick and the South Stand faithful cheered the ball all the way between the sticks. 21-20.
With just over a minute remaining Wasps had the chance to win with a penalty 8 metres inside their own half. Elliott Daly who has a reputation for landing long range efforts was selected to attempt the kick, but his attempt fell short.
Dwayne Peel ended the season by booting the ball into the West Stand to the cheers of the fans. The players did a lap of honour to thank the fans for their incredible support.
Full Time Sale Sharks 21 Wasps 20
Sale Sharks: Mark Cueto; Will Addison (off 65mins), Johnny Leota, Sam Tuitupou, Tom Brady; Nick Macleod, Dwayne Peel; Alasdair Dickinson (off 74mins), Marc Jones (off 50mins), Henry Thomas; Kearnan Myall (off 74mins), Andrei Ostrikov; Dan Braid (off 58mins), David Seymour (capt), James Gaskell.
Replacements: Tommy Taylor (on for Jones 50mins), Ross Harrison (on for Dickinson 74mins), Vadim Cobilas, Tom Holmes (on for Myall 74mins), Andy Powell (on for Braid 58mins), Nathan Fowles, Sam James, Charlie Amesbury (on for Addison 65mins).
Scoring Sequence (Sharks first): 5-0, 5-5, 5-7, 10-7, 12-7 (Half Time) 15-7, 15-12, 15-14, 15-17, 18-17, 18-20, 21-20
|Sale Sharks Score Card|
|London Wasps Score Card|