Match Centre: Gallagher Premiership: Sale Sharks 21-13 Leicester Tigers

George Ford kicked three penalties and a conversion
George Ford kicked three penalties and a conversion

Sale Sharks 21-13 Leicester Tigers, Salford Stadium

George Ford kicked three penalties and a conversion as Sale Sharks edged out Leicester Tigers 21-13 in the semi-final at Salford Stadium to reach the final of the Gallagher Premiership.

This will be the first time in 17 years, Sale have reached the final of the competition where they will be locking horns with Saracens. However, they will have Ben Curry and Dan du Preez doubtful for the Twickenham decider following injuries.

Jimmy Gopperth, who replaced the injured Handre Pollard missed a close-range penalty goal in the 5th minute but made amends with another three pointer two minutes later to make it 0-3. With another successful kick in the 10th minute, Leicester extended their lead to 0-6.

The response from Sale came in the 19th minute as Tom Roebuck touched down and Ford kicked the conversion to make it 7-6 after which they lost Curry to a hamstring injury.

With the half-time approaching, Leicester were down to 14 players temporarily with Dan Cole sin-binned for a high tackle on Akker Van der Merwe but the visitors did well not to concede any points in the next 10 minutes.

Eight minutes into the second half, Ford kicked a penalty goal to extend the gap to four points before the visitors seized the lead back after a long pass from Dan Kelly allowed Harry Potter to score. Gopperth kicked the extras as the scoreline became 10-13.

Ford with a 56th minute penalty goal helped Sale level the scores but they went into the ascendancy with Arron Reed dotting down. Nevertheless, they had another try disallowed from Raffi Quirke following a forward pass as the scoreline remained 18-13.

With 12 minutes left in the game, Ford kicked his third penalty goal which proved enough as Sale completed an eight point victory.

Team line up:

Sale Sharks: Carpenter, Roebuck, Rob Du Preez, Tuilagi, Reed, Ford, Warr; McIntyre, Van der Merwe, Schonert, Jean-Luc du Preez, Hill, Tom Curry, Ben Curry (capt), Ross.

Reserves: Ashman, Rodd, Oosthuizen, Beaumont, Dan du Preez, Quirke, James, O'Flaherty.

Leicester Tigers: Steward, Watson, Scott, Kelly, Potter, Gopperth, Youngs; Wiese, Reffell, Liebenberg, Henderson, Martin, Cole, Montoya (capt), West.

Reserves: Clare, Cronin, Heyes, Wells, Cracknell, Van Poortvliet, Atkinson, Porter.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?

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