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Sale Sharks edge to victory in thrilling clash with Leicester

Published 01/10/2016

Will Addison scored 14 points in Sale's win over Leicester
Will Addison scored 14 points in Sale's win over Leicester

Stand-in kicker Will Addison scored 14 points as Sale Sharks secured their second Aviva Premiership victory with a 34-30 triumph over Leicester at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Steve Diamond's men went into the break 24-20 in front after a breathless first half.

Mike Phillips' converted try gave them a 7-0 lead before Leicester hit back with 17 unanswered points following two Peter Betham converted tries and Owen Williams' penalty.

The Sharks then repeated the Tigers' trick by crossing the whitewash twice, via Paolo Odogwu and Johnny Leota, and kicking a three-pointer through Addison.

Successive Williams penalties made it a one-point game just after the interval but Halani Aulika's effort gave Sale a 31-23 advantage. Adam Thompstone's try once again moved the visitors closer on the scoreboard but another Addison effort off the tee sealed the win for the hosts.

This encounter featured two wingers who effectively traded places in the summer with Odogwu moving to Sale from Leicester and Tom Brady going in the opposite direction.

But it was Sharks' back three player who made the first impression of the two, charging into midfield and setting up the position for Phillips to burst through a hole.

With one man to beat, the scrum-half showed excellent pace and footwork to round the final defender and touch down.

Addison, kicking instead of stand-off AJ MacGinty, added the extras and the hosts led 7-0.

That advantage failed to last as the visitors put together an excellent attack of their own. It came from an errant line-out by the hosts, but the Tigers clinically exposed the home side's defence. Thompstone made the initial break, cutting inside and off-loading to Betham. The centre then exchanged passes with Brendon O'Connor and the Australia international crossed the whitewash in the corner.

Three minutes later the east midlands side had their second and it was once again the O'Connor-Betham axis that came to the fore when the openside fed the centre to score.

Williams kicked the conversion and then added a long-range three-pointer for a 10-point buffer.

Leicester appeared in control but Sale showed commendable resilience to remain in contention and level matters in the second quarter.

Firstly, Addison scored a three-pointer before a well-worked set-piece move ended in Josh Beaumont feeding Odogwu, who touched down against his former club.

It was proving to be one of the most exciting first halves of the season and the Sharks regained their advantage as Leota powered over.

Although Tigers' fly-half reduced the arrears from the tee, the hosts went into the interval with a 24-20 lead.

Leicester ate into that deficit further via another Williams penalty in the second period, but the visitors were soon under duress as Diamond's men laid siege to the line.

Sale pushed for the bonus-point score and it eventually came through Aulika, whose short-range burst gave the home side some breathing space.

However, the Tigers have already shown their fighting spirit this season in their opening day come-from-behind triumph over Gloucester and that was in evidence here.

Aulika was sin-binned for the hosts as Richard Cockerill's team increased the intensity before Thompstone's superb finish made it a tense final 10 minutes. But Sale held on and, when Addison was on target from the tee, they secured the victory.

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