Exeter Chiefs 19-22 Sale Sharks, Sandy Park
Sale Sharks resisted a second half fightback from Exeter Chiefs as they sealed a 19-22 win in their Gallagher Premiership face-off at Sandy Park on Saturday.
Despite the defeat, Exeter continue to be at the top of the table with 30 points while Sale Sharks have climbed to the third place with 26 points.
Exeter Chiefs made eight changes leading into the game but it was Sale Sharks, who got their first points on the board with Robert du Preez penalty kick and they were boosted with the home side losing Tom O'Flaherty to sin bin in the 14th minute and soon Chris Ashton dotted down in the 18th minute making it 0-8.
Firm defence from Exeter ensured Sale Sharks could not find further breakthroughs before Rob Baxter's men got into the game with Phil Dollman's try in the 30th minute.
Sale Sharks lost Rohan Janse van Rensburg to yellow-card in the 33rd minute for a high tackle but Exeter failed to capitalise on the advantage and instead conceded back to back tries to Daniel Du Preez (37') and Byron McGuigan (39') ensuring the teams finished the first half with a scoreline of 5-22.
Exeter finally got into the groove in the final quarter with back to back tries from Sam Simmonds (68') and O'Flaherty (75') while Gareth Steenson kicked both the conversions to take them to a three point trail but failed to go over the line as Sale completed a thrilling win.
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.
12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.
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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