Exeter 24 – 22 Sale

Exeter 24 – 22 Sale

Josh Hodge scored two tries for Exeter, with Harry Williams grabbing the other as Harvey Skinner converted all three and supplied two penalties to guide Exeter to a 10th win in a row; Tom Roebuck, Ewan Ashman and Sam Dugdale scored Sale’s tries

Last Updated: 26/02/23 4:45pm

Josh Hodge scored two tries for Exeter against Sale

Exeter’s impressive run at Sandy Park continued with a 10th consecutive victory in all competitions as they beat Sale 24-22 to maintain their hopes of an end-of-season Premiership play-off spot.

There was little between the teams but once again ill-discipline played a huge part in Sale’s downfall, conceding 14 points when playing with only 13 men.

The defeat leaves Sale 11 points behind Saracens at the top of the table and realistically Sharks must beat the leaders at the AJ Bell Stadium next week if they are to have any hope of finishing the regular season in pole position.

Josh Hodge scored two tries for Exeter, Harry Williams the other, with Harvey Skinner converting all three and adding two penalties.

Tom Roebuck, Ewan Ashman and Sam Dugdale scored Sale’s tries, with Robert Du Preez kicking two conversions and a penalty.

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Sale included former Exeter stars Jonny Hill and Tom O’Flaherty in their line-up, with scrum-half Raffi Quirke on the bench.

Exeter head coach Ali Hepher said: “They picked up a couple of yellow cards as our attack created those situations and we were ruthless in taking our opportunities during that period.

“It was a crucial game to win and very important to get over the line. However, being 11 points up at half-time and playing into the wind, we then allowed them to squeeze us as we needed to be smarter by managing the game better.

“We’ve been stuck on three tries on an incredible number of occasions so we need to convert that figure to five or six.

“The boys are fighting and they are desperate to win but we need to mould that desire to produce better performances as we seem to be slipping off in our intensity in the third quarter.”

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With Sale conceding a host of penalties, Chiefs were able to dominate the early exchanges. Jack Nowell split the defence with one enterprising run but despite being under sustained pressure, the visitors managed to keep their line intact.

After 12 minutes, Exeter suffered a blow when their fly-half Skinner was yellow-carded for a high challenge, with Du Preez kicking the resulting penalty.

Skinner was still in the sin-bin when Sale extended their lead with a superb solo try from Roebuck. On halfway, the wing received possession before weaving his way through the defence and then round Hodge to score. Du Preez converted to give Sale a useful 10-point lead at the end of the first quarter.

Skinner returned with no further damage done to the scoreboard and in time to see Williams open his side’s account by crashing over from close range, with Sale’s flanker Dugdale yellow-carded for collapsing a driving maul.

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Within minutes Bevan Rodd had followed his team-mate to the sin-bin as the prop was pinged for a deliberate offside.

Despite being down to 13, Sale should have scored their second try. Du Preez twice hacked on the loose ball and it bounced kindly, but remarkably O’Flaherty failed to collect with the line beckoning.

Exeter made them pay when skilful play created two tries for Hodge in quick succession, both being converted by Skinner to give Chiefs a 21-10 half-time lead.

Both Dugdale and Rodd had returned by the restart and it was Dugdale who raised his side’s spirits with a couple of lively bursts, the second of which resulting in a try for Ashman.

With 20 minutes remaining, Quirke and Josh Beaumont were introduced as Sale continued to boss the second half and eventually their dominance was rewarded when Dugdale forced his way over.

Du Preez missed the touchline conversion before Skinner sealed victory with a 40-metre penalty with eight minutes left on the clock.

Full Story: https://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/exeter-vs-sale/report/105204
TAGS: #Exeter #Sale


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