Sale Sharks and Bath Rugby battled it out in challenging conditions a cold, wet and windy evening in Manchester. It was a hard-fought game for both teams but the hosts came out on top in the low-scoring encounter.
Freddie Burns gave his side the early lead within 10 minutes of the game, Sale were penalised in the midfield for offside, the fly-half lined up the tee and send a penalty kick soaring through the uprights for the first points of the game. [0-3]
Burns was handed a second opportunity nine minutes later. Bath picked up another penalty in the midfield and the fly-half was given a shot at goal from 30m out. The kick drifted wide of the right upright, and the lead remained three. [0-3]
It was clear from early on, under the challenging conditions that it was to be a low scoring affair, both sides having their chances but neither able to capitalise with points.
It took 29 minutes before Sale registered points on the scoreboard. The Sharks won a penalty on the Bath 22 and it was fly half AJ MacGinty who drew his side level. His kick from directly in front sailed though the sticks. [3-3]
With one minute left of the half Sale got the chance to take the lead but it wasn’t to be as MacGinty’s kick sailed wide of the posts.
Half-time - Sale Sharks 3-3 Bath Rugby
With the torrid conditions continuing into the second half, it was a slow start, with neither side able to register any points in the third quarter of the match, and much of the play in the midfield.
Sale began to build momentum with 60 minutes on the clock, winning consecutive penalties to take them deep inside the Bath half. Bath were penalised once more for an offside decision and this time MacGinty was in a position to go for goal. The American international stepped up and put his side ahead for the first time in the match with 15 minutes remaining.
Priestland had the opportunity to level from the restart as Sale were penalised for offside. The kick was wide of uprights and Sale held their narrow lead. [3-3]
A Solomona intercept came seven minutes later as the winger looked to rush away to score. Joe Cokanasiga did well to get back and make the crucial tackle, however at the resulting ruck, Zach Mercer was adjudged to have gone off his feet warranting a yellow card from referee Tom Foley. Bath did well however to escape their own 22 without conceding. [3-3]
Jonathan Joseph made an incredible break through the Sale defence with two minutes remaining in the match. The centre found Will Chudley who was stopped well by the back tracking Sale defence.
Bath never gave up and continued to attack with intent, and with an attacking scrum inside the Sale 22 as the clock went into the red, it looked as if Bath could have potentially secured a late opportunity to snatch points. However, the ball went forward from the back of the scrum and Sale kicked out to secure the victory. [6-3]
Full-time - Sale Sharks 6-3 Bath Rugby
AJ Bell Stadium
26 April 2019
Referee: Tom Foley
Half Time score: 3-3
- Penalties: MacGinty (30, 65)
- Penalties: Burns (9)