Marland Yarde grabs dramatic clinching try as Sale beat Wasps
The visitors had looked like holding on until the late intervention.
Marland Yarde touched down with the clock in the red as Sale Sharks defeated Wasps 28-27 in a remarkable game at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Dai Young’s Wasps side began the match superbly and deservedly went 17-0 ahead via a Josh Bassett brace and Elliot Daly’s three-pointer, but they were unable to hold that buffer.
Sale hit back with 23 unanswered points through Rob Webber, Byron McGuigan and Bryn Evans touchdowns, while AJ MacGinty added a conversion and two penalties.
Unperturbed, Wasps responded through Daly and then moved four points clear via the boot of Jimmy Gopperth. They would hold that lead until the last play of the game when Yarde crossed the whitewash to move the Sharks closer to the top four of the Aviva Premiership.
Despite what turned out to be a thrilling contest, the opening 10 minutes were anything but, perpetuated by kicking and turnovers.
Jack Willis was particularly enjoying the breakdown battle and one such steal at the contact area allowed Daly to take the visitors in front from long range.
Young’s men were duly into their stride and, after a penalty had taken them to within five metres of the opposition line, they shifted the ball wide and Bassett had enough space to touch down.
The midlanders were dominating proceedings while the Sharks were lacklustre and the visitors soon had their second try as the left wing was once again on the end of a well-worked move.
Danny Cipriani was pulling the strings from fly-half and his decision-making in the pivot position gave Willie le Roux an opportunity to run at the hosts’ fringe defence. The full-back then drew Mike Haley and Bassett crossed the whitewash for a 17-0 advantage.
Having been outplayed in the first quarter, Sale did finally increase the intensity and were rewarded by MacGinty’s three-pointer.
That provided the catalyst the hosts needed to stage an excellent comeback. The Greater Manchester outfit began to put the away team under duress and Webber burrowed over to give them hope.
MacGinty added the extras and then produced a neat cross-field kick for McGuigan to score and reduce the arrears at the interval.
Buoyed by that end to the half, the Sharks maintained their form at the start of the second period and Evans charged down Dan Robson’s attempted clearance. Under pressure, the lock did well to pick up and touch down, giving the hosts the lead for the first time in the encounter.
MacGinty extended that buffer to six points from the tee before Wasps responded in style. This time Christian Wade was the instigator, breaking through the middle and off-loading for Daly to cross the whitewash.
In a see-saw game, the match took another twist when former Sale man Cipriani was yellow carded for a cynical infringement, but the visitors handled the setback impressively.
They controlled possession well and earned a penalty, which Gopperth converted, as the visitors went into the final 10 minutes in the ascendency.
However, the Sharks looked for the winner and were boosted by James Haskell’s sin-binning. Cipriani was then worryingly taken off on a stretcher after a clash of heads with Faf de Klerk before Yarde’s winning score completed a dramatic finale.