Denny Solomona scores three tries as Sale edge Premiership leaders Wasps
Denny Solomona's first-half hat-trick helped Sale edge closer to Aviva Premiership safety with a superb 34-28 triumph over Wasps.
Two Jimmy Gopperth penalties to Will Addison's one had given the visitors an early 6-3 lead, but the Sharks soon took command of the contest thanks to Solomona touching down three times. Gopperth kicked another penalty but the hosts went in at the break 24-9 up.
Mark Jennings secured the bonus point with a fourth Sale try early in the second period before the visitors mounted a revival when Josh Bassett and Ashley Johnson scored, but an Addison penalty swiftly extended the hosts' buffer to 13 and, despite Kurtley Beale's try making it a tense final 11 minutes, the Sharks held on.
This encounter saw the return of Danny Cipriani, who had become a pivotal player for Sale before invoking a clause in his contract and moving to Wasps at the end of last season.
Sharks have struggled to settle on a replacement fly-half this term, but current incumbent S am James enjoyed a solid start to the contest as the home team moved into a 3-0 lead via the boot of Addison.
The visitors soon got into their stride, though, and immediately levelled via Gopperth after James Gaskell's break had put them deep into opposition territory.
Wasps' centre then kicked his second off the tee as the league leaders looked to assert their authority, but the hosts responded seven minutes later.
They went off the top of a lineout to TJ Ioane who barrelled into Cipriani. The number 10 made the tackle but was sent into reverse and Solomona picked up from the base of a ruck and touched down under the posts for a 10-6 advantage.
It was a surprise scoreline given the strength of the visitors' starting XV, with Wasps able to call upon an almost first-choice squad.
They did manage to reduce the arrears through Gopperth, but Dai Young's men were being outplayed. That was epitomised by the Sharks' second try when Bryn Evans and Josh Beaumont linked up down the right.
Excellent hands from the forwards sent Solomona clear and a piece of individual skill, aided by a slip from Christian Wade, allowed the New Zealander to cross the whitewash.
The Sharks had a third try minutes later and once again it was excellent work by Evans that gave Solomona an easy run to the line.
Addison added his third conversion and the home side held a 24-9 lead at the interval.
Wasps were shell-shocked and the pain failed to relent at the start of the second half when Jennings crashed over following a dominant driving maul.
However, the visitors finally found their fluency and Beale was at the heart of it. The Australia full-back first broke down the right, drew the final defender and sent Bassett in for the try. He then latched onto Wade's offload and gave Johnson the opportunity to barrel across the whitewash from close range.
Sale regained their composure enough for Addison to slot a penalty, but Wasps refused to give in and another wonderfully worked attack saw new signing Willie Le Roux - on his debut - set up Beale.
Gopperth, for the second time in the match, added the extras and they were back to within six points.
Wasps pressed for the winning score, but the Sharks deservedly went away with the victory.