Danny Cipriani inspires Sale to a 30-15 victory over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium
Mikey Haley’s score combined with eight points from Cipriani gave the Sharks a 13-8 lead at the interval
Cipriani extended Sharks’ lead before Johnny Williams’ score gave Irish hope, but tries for TJ Ioane and Cipriani maintained Sale’s top six push
Sale secured their first victory at the Madjeski Stadium since October 2006 to leave London Irish four points adrift at the bottom of the Premiership.
With three games of the season left to play, Sale remains in seventh place, four points adrift of Harlequins in sixth, who recorded a 46-25 victory over strugglers Newcastle.
Meanwhile, London Irish are four points adrift of the Falcons at the bottom of the table, however, travel to the North East to face Dean Richards troops at Kingston Park in a fortnight’s time following the European break.
Greig Tonks and Danny Cipriani traded penalties in the opening exchanges before Sean Maitland’s unconverted score gave the struggling Exiled an 8-3 lead.
Another penalty from Sale fly-half narrowed the gap to a single point before he converted fullback Mike Haley’s try to give the Sharks a 13-8 lead at half-time.
Cipriani’s three-pointer after the restart extended Sharks’ lead before Johnny Williams’ score gave Irish hope, but tries for TJ Ioane and Cipriani kept up Sale’s top-six push.
Tom Coventry’s side had lost just twice at home since November and were within touching distance with ten minutes to go.
But opportunistic tries for substitute Ioane and RUCK man of the match Cipriani, who contributed 20 of his team’s 30 points, sunk the Exiles as the game came to an end.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Sale Sharks: Danny Cipriani
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Josh Beaumont 7 David Seymour (c), 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts,
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Cameron Neild, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Arscott.
Irish: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Luke Narraway 7 Conor Gilsenan, 6 Ofisa Treviranus, 5 Will Lloyd, 4 Matt Symons (c), 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court,
Replacements: 16 Gerard Ellis, 17 Johnny Harris, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Rob McCusker, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Andrew Fenby
Date: Saturday, January 30
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee, Gareth Copsey
TMO: Keith Lewis