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Exeter move to the top of the Aviva Premiership with bonus point defeat of Sale

Published 26/12/2015

Will Chudley helped Exeter to the top of the Aviva Premiership with two tries in the defeat of Sale.
Will Chudley helped Exeter to the top of the Aviva Premiership with two tries in the defeat of Sale.

Exeter moved to the top of the Aviva Premiership with a 33-17 home bonus point victory over Sale.

Thomas Waldrom, Will Chudley (2) James Short and Tom Johnson scored the home side's tries, with Will Addison and Josh Beaumont replying for the Sharks.

The result takes Exeter to the top of the table - although previous leaders Saracens can do something about that when they play Wasps on Sunday.

Two former England captains were in the Boxing Day capacity crowd of 12,425 at Sandy Park. New forwards coach Steve Borthwick and Rugby Football Union chairman Bill Beaumont - father of Sale's Josh.

The hosts had the vast majority of the possession in the opening 10 minutes but it was Sale who opened the scoring when fly-half Danny Cipriani, with the strong wind at his back, landed a 35-metre penalty.

The Chiefs were quickly back up the other end and a series of pick and goes close to the Sharks' line finally resulted in them powering over. After much deliberation by television match official Geoff Warren, the try was awarded to Waldrom.

The home side added a second try midway through the half after quick thinking from Crudley, who darted through from the base of the ruck. Gareth Steenson's conversion attempt hung high above the crossbar and landed the wrong side of the posts.

Sale levelled the scores when they used an overlap which enabled Addison to score in the right corner, with Cipriani adding the extras.

The Chiefs had several attempts at crossing the opposition line before Warren denied Short a score, as the teams turned around level at 10-10.

The visitors regained the advantage seven minutes after the restart when Josh Beaumont cantered in from 40 metres, with Cipriani adding the extras.

However, the Chiefs replied immediately when Crudley raced away from a tap penalty for his second try of the afternoon.

Exeter's bonus point try came 12 minutes from time after a cruncing tackle from replacement Michele Campagnaro. Short picked up the loose ball and sprinted down the left before touching down, with Steenson converting.

The Chiefs wrapped up the game when replacement Johnson slid over the line for their fifth try, before Sale lost full-back Mike Haley to the sin-bin for the last 30 seconds of the contest.

Replacement Hooley capped a good afternoon for the hosts with the last play when he kicked a touchline penalty.

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