Newcastle 15-21 Sale: Nili Latu’s hat-trick not enough as Falcons lose out to Sharks
Sale overcome Newcastle 21-15 to secure their place in the Champions Cup
Scores from Dave Seymour and Sam James give Sharks a narrow lead at the break
Two penalties from Joe Ford after the restart sealed the win for Steve Diamond’s men
Sale beat Newcastle to seal a Champions Cup place ahead of Harlequins, despite Nili Latu’s hat-trick for the Falcons.
They moved above Harlequins, who were thrashed 62-24 by Exeter Chiefs on the final day of the campaign.
Latu’s hat-trick came in the same week that the 34-year-old agreed to a contract extension with the Falcons, who finished 11th in the Premiership, seven points clear of bottom club London Irish.
David Seymour went over to give the Sharks an early lead but, after Wasps-bound Danny Cipriani kicked a penalty, Latu’s opener reduced the deficit.
Sam James then touched down for Sale’s second try, with Cipriani adding the extras, before Latu scored again to reduce the deficit to five points heading into the break, 10-15.
The Tonga captain then made it 15-15 after the break before two Joe Ford penalties secured sixth spot for Sale.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Newcastle: Nili Latu
Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Michael Young, 8 Nili Latu (c), 7 Dan Temm, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Will Witty, 4 Calum Green, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Kane Thompson, 20 Richard Mayhew, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Belisario Agulla
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 TJ Ioane 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Mark Easter, 21 James Mitchell, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings
Date: Saturday, May 7
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 15:30 BST (14:30 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Tim Wigglesworth, John Meredith
TMO: Graham Hughes