Sale Sharks vs Bristol Bears 21/22 Report

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9 Sale Sharks
10 Bristol Bears

Sat 09 Apr 1:00pm AJ Bell Stadium Attendance: 4672

Sale Sharks vs Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears were able to grind out a hard-fought 10-9 win over #YourSharks in a Champions Cup round-of-16 encounter at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.

Semi Radradra was the visitors’ hero as he came off the bench to score their only try and their other points were scored by Callum Sheedy, who slotted a penalty and a conversion.

Robert du Preez scored all Sale’s points courtesy of three penalties.

Radradra’s introduction in the 58th minute sparked his side into life after a poor first half – where neither side dominated – and his superb bust through midfield resulted in him crossing for the decisive score.

Alex Sanderson gave Manu Tuilagi a first start since February, with the centre continuing his return from a hamstring problem.

Also starting for the Sharks were outgoing South Africa pair Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager, with the club confirming both would leave the Premiership side at the end of the season.

Bristol made 10 changes from last week’s defeat at Northampton, including a return for Nathan Hughes after a loan spell at Bath.

However, Pat Lam elected to leave stars Radradra and Charles Piutau on the bench, with the pair being introduced after the break.

Neither side asserted sustained dominance in a scrappy first half, but some robust defence and breakdown pressure earned the hosts two early penalties, which Du Preez calmly slotted to build a 6-0 lead.

Handling errors and inaccuracies plagued both teams as patchy rain showers created a greasy ball.

Bristol replied via a Sheedy penalty, reducing the deficit to 6-3 at half-time, as try-scoring opportunities were limited.

After the break it was more of the same as early pressure from Bristol was relieved by a Sale turnover deep in their own 22.

A stolen Bristol lineout gave the hosts a chance to build and a powerful carry from Akker Van Der Merwe took them up to the Bristol line, but the Bears scrambled well to hold Sale up.

Tempers began to flare as frustrations boiled over in the second half and both coaches rung the changes in an attempt to sharpen up their sides.

Du Preez missed a long-range kick, but Sale continued to build pressure with a series of penalties keeping the Bears camped in their own half.

They were unable to turn this pressure into points, however, as a knock-on in Bristol territory gave possession back to the visitors.

Not long after coming on, it was Radradra who created the game-winning moment, slicing through midfield before stepping his way under the posts. Sheedy added the extras to put his side ahead for the first time in the match.

Du Preez narrowed the gap to a single point with another penalty, but Bristol hung on to claim a gutsy 10-9 win that puts them in the driving seat for the return fixture.

Victory over two legs will see the winners face either Racing 92 or Stade Francais in the quarter-finals.

Previous meetings

A Friday
January 7th 2022
7:45pm

Ashton Gate
Gallagher Premiership
Bristol Bears
32
:
Sale Sharks
15
H Friday
May 28th 2021
7:45pm

AJ Bell Stadium
Gallagher Premiership
Sale Sharks
22
:
Bristol Bears
12
A Friday
February 5th 2021
7:45pm

Ashton Gate
Gallagher Premiership
Bristol Bears
13
:
Sale Sharks
20