A dominant Exeter Chiefs came from behind to secure a 32-22 bonus-point victory against Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.
An incredible no-look pass from Chiefs centre Henry Slade led to Sam Simmonds opening the try-scoring for the visitors after just 90 seconds with brother Joe adding the conversion.
Sale rallied with tries from Tom Curry and Rob du Preez, both converted by the latter, to give the hosts a 14-10 lead at the break after Chiefs Joe Simmonds slotted a late penalty to narrow the deficit.
Second-half tries from Jacques Vermeulen, Stuart Hogg and Luke Cowan-Dickie ensured Exeter came from behind to win comfortably. before Denny Solomona scored a late consolation try for Sale late on.
Sale Sharks – 22
- Tries: Tom Curry 7, Robert du Preez 10, Denny Solomona 77
- Cons: Robert du Preez 8,11
- Pens: Robert du Preez 44
Exeter Chiefs – 32
- Tries: Sam Simmonds 2, Jacques Vermeulen 48, Stuart Hogg 53, Luke Cowan-Dickie 60
- Cons: Joe Simmonds 4,49,57,61
- Pens: Joe Simmonds 39
RUCK’S MAN OF THE MATCH: Luke Cowan-Dickie
Precice line-out throwing, relentless scrummaging and a try to put the icing on the cake. Almost a perfect performance from the England hooker.
Jono Ross (Sale Sharks): The top tackler in the Gallagher Premiership put in another all-action display, landing 16 hits and missing none.
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks): The powerhouse ran rampant over arguably the most physical side in the Gallagher Premiership over the last five years. Faded as the game went on but there were some positive signs.
“Give that man a platform, he will give you the gain line!”— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) August 21, 2020
This is what you get from Manu Tuilagi 💥
One, two, three, four defenders trying to stop him, loads of room Tom Curry to sneak over and hit back for @SaleSharksRugby!#RugbyRestart pic.twitter.com/HlXjaNxaZp
Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs): Charged about like a man possessed as he sought to lead by example, making a match high 81 metres from his eight carries. Also scored a wonderful second-half try.
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs): His absolutely brilliant no look inside pass set up Sam Simmonds opening try. Different gravy.
No time wasted 😤@ExeterChiefs cross the try line after 95 seconds and it Sam Simmonds with the finish!— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) August 21, 2020
Henry Slade’s skip pass made this one, wait for the replay 😍#RugbyRestart pic.twitter.com/Rn4Rp76cSp
Armand van der Merwe (Sale Sharks): For the second week in a row his lineout throwing simply wasn’t good enough. Along with that, he also coughed up three penalties.
Iain Whitten (Exeter Chiefs): Struggled to impact the game while also conceding three penalties and missing four tackles.
Sale Sharks vs Exeter Chiefs player ratings
Sale: Hammersley 5; McGuigan 5, S James 6, Tuilagi 7, Yarde 6.5; R du Preez 7, de Klerk 6.5; Oosthuizen 4, van der Merwe 4, John 5, J-L du Preez 6, de Jager 6.5, Ross (capt) 8, T Curry 7, D du Preez 6.5.
Exeter Chiefs: Hogg 8; Cuthbert 6, Slade 7.5, Whitten 5, Woodburn 6; J Simmonds (capt) 7, Maunder 7; Moon 6, Cowan-Dickie 9, Williams 6, Gray 6, Hill 6, Ewers 6, Vermeulen 7, S Simmonds 7.