Sale hosted 6thplace Huddersfield in their final home game of the season, aiming to make it 15 wins from 15 games at Heywood Road. The game kicked off in gloriously sunny conditions and the home side were quickly into their stride in front of a big crowd.
Having been awarded an early penalty, Chris Johnson opted to kick to touch and that decision proved to be a good one as, from a subsequent scrum, the blue and whites scored their first try with the fly half crashing over under the posts, assisted by the majority of the forwards.
Within minutes, the Yorkshiremen hit back as their scrum half, Joel Hinchcliffe, kicked a straightforward penalty but the home side were largely in control and, from yet more powerful forward play, Tom Ailes picked up from the back of a scrum to dive over for a second try.
Despite the heat, the league leaders continued to attack with venom and were rewarded with a third try in the 34thminute when Chris Mayor wriggled his way through the tightest of gaps in midfield before sprinting in unopposed.
The fourth try duly arrived on the stroke of half time as Huddersfield failed to deal with Sale’s dynamic scrummaging and, after three resets, the referee decided enough was enough, awarding a penalty try.
HT Sale 28 Huddersfield 3
With the bonus point secured, Chris Johnson elected to extend the lead with an early second half penalty but Huddersfield, having a fine season themselves following promotion last year, hit back with a fine individual try from their inside centre, Harry Davey.
There followed a period of frantic rugby as both sides attacked at will but the home side put the game to bed with a fifth try in the 67thminute as replacement hooker, Chris Taylor, hacked on a loose ball before picking up and offloading for Jake Barron to score.
With time almost up, Sale scored a final try as they attacked the away side’s tiring defence at pace with Sam Stelmaszek timing his pass to perfection, allowing winger, Jack Moorhouse, to gallop in. Chris Johnson added the extras to take his points tally in the game to 18.
FT Sale 45 Huddersfield 10
Following two very close games the previous two weeks, this was an impressive performance from Sale against a hard-working Huddersfield side, and extended their winning run to an extraordinary 21 games. Promotion is tantalisingly close, but the coaches and players will not be taking anything for granted as they travel to Leicester Lions next Saturday, knowing that they require one more win from their two remaining games.
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|Sale Rugby Club, Heywood Rd, Sale M33 3WB, UK|