Bristol end four match losing run with win over Sale

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  • Luke Morahan
    Australian rugby union player
  • Tom Curry
    English rugby union footballer

Last season’s Premiership league leaders Bristol Bears showed impressive resolve to defeat an error-strewn Sale Sharks outfit to claim a 32-15 triumph at Ashton Gate.

The visitors opened the brighter and scored a nicely worked try through Ewan Ashman but Bristol hit back and benefited from Tom Curry’s yellow card.

Will Capon and Luke Morahan both touched down to give them the lead before Sale levelled matters via Rob du Preez.

Morahan regained the Bears’ seven-point buffer but the match remained finely poised as AJ MacGinty kicked a penalty.

The second period wasn’t as entertaining as the first but Bristol didn’t mind with Callum Sheedy adding a brace of three-pointers to effectively confirm their win.

The Sharks had two tries disallowed but it was another disappointing performance from Alex Sanderson’s men, who then saw Andy Uren cross the whitewash late on as the hosts also went away with a bonus-point.

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Bristol boss Pat Lam made four changes following last weekend’s defeat at Exeter, calling up Capon, wing Henry Purdy, prop Max Lahiff and lock John Hawkins.

Sale welcomed back Tom Curry after victory over Wasps six days ago, with skipper Jono Ross and number eight Daniel Du Preez lining up as his back-row colleagues, while Sam James started in the centre.

The visitors made a strong start and went ahead after just four minutes through an outstanding try sparked by MacGinty, whose half-break breached Bristol’s defence.

Rob du Preez was on his shoulder in support, before wing Marland Yarde delivered a scoring pass to Ashman for what was an immediate statement of intent.

Bristol needed a quick response, and they produced one after Curry was yellow-carded by referee Wayne Barnes, who was in charge of his 250th Premiership game, for a technical infringement.

Sale were put under a huge pressure from a driven line-out, and Capon claimed the touchdown, with Sheedy converting for a 7-5 advantage after 10 minutes.

Bristol had the bit between their teeth, and they claimed a second try as Sale struggled to cope without Curry.

Centre Sam Bedlow played a critical role after scrum-half Harry Randall took a quick penalty, as his long pass found Morahan in space, and he applied a clinical finish.

It proved an expensive yellow card, as Bristol scored 12 unanswered points while Curry was off, yet the visitors drew level just eight minutes after he returned, with Rob du Preez rounding off a flowing move, and MacGinty’s conversion tied things up.

Back came Bristol, though, and Morahan again showed Sale’s defence a clean pair of heels to post his second try, converted by Sheedy, before a MacGinty penalty narrowed the gap to four points.

Both sides had further chances before the break, but Bristol took a narrow lead into the interval as they chased a first Premiership win for two months.

Sheedy opened Bristol’s second-half account through a long-range penalty, and when he repeated the feat approaching the end of an error-strewn third quarter, Sale had it all to do at 10 points adrift.

It looked like the Sharks had narrowed the deficit when full-back Luke James won a kick and chase to touch down, but the score was ruled out for a knock-on earlier in play after Barnes consulted television match official Tom Foley.

James’ brother Sam then had a try chalked off for a knock-on by substitute Simon Hammersley, and there was no way back for Sale after that as Bristol collected some much-needed Premiership points, with Uren adding the finishing touch to their performance.

The article Bristol end four match losing run with win over Sale appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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