Sale Sharks survived a second-half fightback from Exeter Chiefs to secure a hard-earned 22-19 victory over the Premiership leaders.
Having headed into Saturday’s encounter on the south coast without a defeat in all competitions since November, Exeter found themselves trailing 22-5 at the interval after a blistering first-half display from the visitors.
With Tom O’Flaherty sent to the sin bin early on Exeter, Sale ran in three tries in the first half – Chris Ashton, Daniel du Preez and Byron McGuigan getting on the scoresheet.
Rob du Preez added a further seven points, though Phil Dollman’s try had handed the Chiefs some hope and Exeter gained 14 points in the space of seven minutes to set up a grandstand finale.
But Sale held firm, clinching a victory that lifted them into third, four points behind Exeter.
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Elsewhere, Wasps ran in three tries in the second half to come from behind and edge out Worcester Warriors 30-26, with Dan Robson’s late try proving decisive in a bonus-point win.
Wasps are eighth, level on points with the Warriors and three shy of Bath, who just got the better of Leicester Tigers – Tom Homer’s double ultimately securing a 13-10 victory.
Meanwhile, Bristol Bears snapped a three-match losing streak with a convincing 34-16 triumph over west country rivals Gloucester, who slipped into fourth.
Callum Sheedy kicked 19 of the Bears’ points, converting five penalties in the first half, with Bristol going over three times after the break.
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