Leicester Tigers were beaten 25-15 by a Sale Sharks team who claimed three tries at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Friday evening.
Tigers had led by eight points midway through the first half before Sharks turned the tide, starting with an interception try, and they added two more after the break to register a third successive league win.
In his 200th appearance for the club, it was captain Tom Youngs who was mistakenly credited with the opening try in the Gallagher Premiership Round 7 meeting as he later pointed out that Tommy Reffell had been the scorer.
But the length-of-the-field score from Sam James got Sharks on the board and then added a three-pointer in the last action of the first half to lead 10-8 at the break.
Sharks extended the advantage in the second half, with tries by Cobus Wiese and Marland Yarde before Nemani Nadolo’s finish on the left provided a reply but the visitors remained 10 points ahead with time running out.
It was Sharks who had got the game started, kicking towards the Mattioli Woods Stand end, and Tigers scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth, in his first appearance after suspension, had an early clearing kick charged down before Freddie Steward mopped up untidy ball on his own line.
After being awarded free-kicks at successive early scrums, Tigers were given a penalty when the Sharks front row popped up at the next and Henry landed a smart kick from wide on the right for an eighth-minute lead.
Early-evening rainfall made for some tricky handling conditions, and Nemani Nadolo was just unable to hold on to spilled ball just inside the Sharks half with space opening in front of him to attack.
With play almost exclusively at close quarters among the forwards, an infringement by lock Jean-Pierre du Preez gave Tigers a first really attacking position from a penalty on the left which eventually led to the Reffell score.
After setting up a maul from the lineout, Tigers had another set-piece closer to the line and after skipper Youngs had taken control, it was Reffell in possession as the forwards pushed over the line. Henry’s conversion kick from wide of the left flew just the wrong side of the near post with Tigers eight points in front.
Wigglesworth kept prodding play into Sharks territory with his left boot, and one teasing kick brought a spill from AJ McGinty on his own 22-metre line. But, as Tigers played out from a scrum, visiting full-back Sam James picked off a pass in midfield and ran 80 metres to score at the opposite end. McGinty added the conversion to make it 8-7 on the half-hour.
Matias Moroni almost manufactured a chance down the left after a carry from Jasper Wiese but, after Sharks reorganised in front of their own tryline, play came back for a Leicester scrum.
This time, after Nadolo broke the first tackle, Tigers recycled but Henry pushed a drop-goal attempt wide.
Matt Scott then broke clear out of defence after picking off Sharks ball. But when he was caught in the Sale 22, Marland Yarde capitalised on loose ball to threaten another breakaway try. Yarde kicked upfield, only for Steward to take the ball off his toes almost under his own posts.
But as Tigers tried to force their way out, referee Ian Tempest blew at a breakdown and pointed in Sharks favour, allowing McGinty to kick his side into a 10-8 lead as the half came to a close.
A penalty for offside near halfway at the start of the second period gave Sharks a promosing platform for attack which brought a score for Cobus Wiese. With Tigers retreating and the referee playing advantage for three separate penalties, Harry Wells was sin-binned and Wiese forced his way over for the try, converted by McGinty for a 17-8 lead.
Steve Borthwick sent on a whole new front row, including debutant Julían Montoya, at the restart, and Cyle Brink joined the pack soon afterwards.
But Sharks increased the gap on the scoreboard with Marland Yarde diving in on the left after a clever kick in midfield. MacGinty was unable to add the extras as his kick hit the outside of the post with Sharks 22-8 in front on 55 minutes.
Nephi Leatigaga was yellow-carded after a high tackle on Luke James and Tigers found themselves back on the defensive before Sharks were penalised for a deliberate knock-on as Wigglesworth looked for Nadolo on the left.
Montoya was taken into touch as he tried to barrel his way through the Sharks forward pack, but Tigers kept play in Sharks territory and had a penalty after Wiese was subject to a high tackle but were kept out by stern defence.
Tigers were then whistled themselves in defence, not retreating quickly enough from a free-kick, and Sharks chose to go for scrum ball as they hunted a fourth try. Although Leatigaga returned to the field for the set-piece, another penalty award gave MacGinty the chance to nudge over a kick to make it 8-25.
Some possession near the Sharks line finally brought a Tigers response, creating the chance to take play to the left where Nadolo ran in and replacement Johnny McPhillips added a precise conversion to bring the gap down to 10 points with five minutes remaining.
There as one final chance when Nadolo and Scott exchanged passes down the left touchline but Sharks managed to scramble back and force the ball loose with the clock running down.
FULL-TIME | TIGERS 15-25
It's full time here at Mattioli Woods Welford Road with Sale coming out on top in the second half.
After a bright start from Tigers in the game, it's a fourth loss for Steve Borthwick's men with Nadolo and skipper Youngs scoring Tigers only tries.
SHARKS COME BACK AT TIGERS
A line-out for Sale and Cobus Wiese collects, Sale form the mal but it's quickly defended by Tigers.
It's knocked on in the breakdown and we'll have the scrum from Jack Van Poortvliet .
MCPHILLIPS ADDS THE EXTRAS
There's just ten points in it now as Johnny McPhillips adds the extras and now a chance for Tigers to finish strongly.
Tigers 15-25 Sale
NADOLO OUT WIDE.... TRY FOR TIGERS
Nemani Nadolo able to walk over the line for the try after some hard work in the scrum. The ball is sprayed wide before Sale react and it's the Tigers 11 who gets the five points.
TIGERS LOOK TO RESPOND
Tigers with a chance to respond with a scrum deep in the Sale half. A super scrum is picked up and are three metres out.
The ball is lost forward but we'll come back for the penalty advantage to Leicester who call the scrum.
SALE PENALTY AS LEAD EXTENDED
Tigers are penalised in the scrum and Jono Ross opts for his side to kick to the sticks.
MacGinty looking to rectify his earlier miss, reclaims the three points and lead is now 17 points.
Tigers 8-25 Sale
SALE SCRUM IN TIGERS HALF
Will Cliff feeds the ball into the scrum, as Sale looking for the fourth score and bonus points.
The Tigers 14 having to stretch, but Lavanini gets his own back on Ross, but the referee penalises Tigers and we'll have another scrum.
EXTRA SPRING IN STEP FOR TIGERS
Lavanini, Montoya and Nadolo all run with the ball in hand but Sale hold strong. Henry aims to find Nadolo out wide from the boot, but it's cut out at the last minute forcing the line-out.
Montoya find Green, and Wiese comes out with the ball, penalty advantage for Tigers as Henry and Moroni have a chance to find yards.
We'll go back for the penalty and Henry kicks for the left corner.
MONTOYA SHOWING HIS POWER
Henry pumps a ball into touch and from the line-out, the Tigers forwards fancy their chances.
Julián Montoya showing real strength as it takes THREE Sale players to force him into touch.
TIGERS STRONG IN DEFENSE WHEN NEEDED
The Tigers pack holding firm as Sale edged closer from the 22-metre line. Lavnini with a hard hit on Cobus Wiese and the referee will take a look at the TMO.
LEATIGAGA SHOWN YELLOW FOR HIGH TACKLE
Nephi Leatigaga is show a yellow card and heads to the sin-bin as Tigers are down to 14-men for a second time this half.
MACGINTY HITS THE POST
MacGinty misfires from out wide and strikes the post as Sale lead 8-22 with a long way to go in this game.
YARDE GOES OVER OUT WIDE
Marland Yarde makes the Sale pressure count as MacGinty sends a cross field kick to the left flank and Yarde steps past Freddie Steward to extend the Sharks lead.
Both teams defense are on top at the moment, as the teams look to win the territory from the boot.
Not much ball in hand, as both teams look to the kick-chase for the advantage.
SALE FAVOURING HIGH BALL
Faf de Flerk is seeing a lot of the ball at the moment, as he sends high ball after high ball into the Tigers backline. Steward collects and Tigers aim to run it out, but are caught out and Sharks with the chance to come forward.
Steward clears again from the boot., with the line-out on the half-way mark.
BATTLE IN THE MIDDLE
Henry finds the touchline and a chance for Tigers back rows to test the Sale defense as Liebenberg and then Green are held up.
Leicester still down to 14-men and Nadolo tries to collect, as the ball goes out of play in Sale's favour.
MACGINTY EXTENDS FROM THE TEE
MacGinty keeps his 100% record in tact in the early moments of the second half.
It's the other Weise who goes over for Sale as Cobus caps off a flying start to the second half for the Sharks.
HARRY WELLS SEES YELLOW
Harry Wells is penalised in the breakdown. Tigers down to 14.
SALE PRESSURE AS FIVE METRES OUT
Curtis Langdon has a break following the restart and Sharks have applied the pressure up the pitch.
Sale will go for the short drive, and there's a host of bodies in the way, with Wiggelworth offside. But Ian Tempest spots an infringement from Harry Wells.
WE'RE BACK UNDERWAY
Zack Henry gets things going for Tigers as he kicks off the second half in this Round 7 affair.
Faf de Klerk returns from the collected kick in the breakdown and we have a short game of kick tennis in the early stages, with a penalty going Sale's way.
PHOTOS | PHYSICAL FIRST-HALF
PHOTOS | PHYSICAL FIRST-HALF
PHOTOS | PHYSICAL FIRST-HALF
HALF-TIME | TIGERS 8-10 SALE
Sharks with the lead as Ian Tempest blows for the end of the first half.
MACGINTY GIVES SALE LEAD
MacGinty makes it from the tee, with Tigers are unfortunate to be behind. It's 8-10 in Sale's favour as the half-time whistle goes.
Sale come away with the scrum on this occasion, as AJ MacGinty kicks to touch just shy of the Tigers 22.
Langdon throws in Beamont finds Jono Ross, but Matt Scott intercepts and he's got a run on the line, he's caught out and Marland Yarde intercepts and it's another full length run.
Some football skills and it's Steward who makes a last ditch grab to stop the try. It's turned scrappy as Henry fails to find touch, and finally the penalty to Sale slows the game down.
LATE PRESSURE IN SALE HALF
Henry can find touch following a penalty given away on a Freddie Steward drive,
Try-scorer Youngs goes to the back and Weise can come forward with the ball in play. Henry goes high, but its a knock-on on a Leicester ball.
TIGERS MAKING METRES
Nadolo having success as the first receiver, as Tigers come forward from the restart.
Tigers orchestrate a drop goal attempt but Henry just slips it wide.
MacGinty restarts the player with a deep kick into the Tigers half.
ONE POINT IN IT
AJ MacGinty makes no mistake from the tee and there's just one point in the game now with just ten minutes to go.
TRY FOR SALE
Sam Hill runs the length of the pitch after intercepting from a Wiggleworth pass and Sale are back in the game.
PRESSURE FROM THE PACK
Tigers with another scrum as they continue to put on the pressure. Nadolo comes away as the first receiver. It's moved across...but it's intercepted by Sam Hill who runs the length of the pitch. And Sale are back in it...
TIGERS SHOW NO SIGN OF SLOWING
Tigers have been rampant from the restart with some big lines from the teams powerhouses.
Wiggleworth now with the ball and kicks with MacGinty collecting, but the TMO may decide he was tackled in the air by Tommy Reffell.
TOM YOUNGS TRY ON HIS 200TH
TOM YOUNGS TRY ON HIS 200TH
It's Tom Youngs who is the man at the bottom of the maul and a classic team try for Tigers. The game's first try.
Henry misses the kick however so 8-0 half-way through the first half.
The Tigers maul makes its power felt with Tom Youngs with the ball underarm, helped out by his forwards. But Sale give away the penalty for a fourth time.
But the maul works again as Tigers replicate the move and its a team effort to get for the try...
TIGERS HOLDING STRONG IN THE SCRUM
Tigers are piling on the pressure as Dan Cole forces another penalty from Bevan Rodd.
Zack Henry finds touch and Wigglesworth receives the ball from the line-out win, Nadolo in -field as Tigers find the Fijian, but Sale are once again penalised at the breakdown.
Henry kicks to the left flank for the line-out.
Sale seeing a little more of the ball, with every ball being hard fought for at the breakdown. Weise lose the ball forward in the contact after a Steward catch from the high ball.
There's another penalty spotted in the resulting scrum and we're once again resetting as the two powerful packs face off.
SALE PLAYING IT HIGH
Faf de Klerk puts the ball into the scrum and comes away out the back. He finds Sam Hill, but Wiggleworth stops him in his tracks. Tom Youngs is on hand too to shepherd Byron McGuigan out
Line-out falls Sale's way and de Klerk is forced to kick for territory. Nadolo collects, but the scrum-half picks up from the return and finds touch.
COMPETIVE FEW MINUTES
Curtis Langdon with the line-out is caught by Du Preez and Sale with a chance with ball in hand. De Klerk keeping things moving, as Sale go through the phases.
Tigers win the breakdown and Wiggleworth kicks the box kick, Sale back with ball as Dan Cole stops WillGriff John. It's fumbled and Nemani Nadolo almost grabs it. We'll go back for a scrum.
TIGERS FORCE THE PRESSURE FROM THE RESTART
The high ball causing a knock-on in the Sake ranks and we'll have another scrum just shy of the half-way line.
Wigglesworth feeds and then is collected at the foot by Jasper Weise but he's forced into touch by Jono Ross.
HENRY OPENS SCORING
Zack Henry opens his account for the evening with a clean kick from the right flank. Tigers lead 3-0.
FREEKICK GOES TIGERS WAY
Tigers call for the scrum again and pile on the pressure in the early minutes of the game.
Tigers hold their ground and Bevan Rodd concedes and another penalty and chance for Zack Henry to kick for the points.
GAME'S FIRST SCRUM
It's the first scrum of the game, following the penalty and the line-out with Wiggleworth feeding the ball in. We'll re-set and go again.
Tigers lose out in the scrum, but Ian Tempest spots a penalty and we'll re-set.
Another penalty and it's Tigers way. Wigglesworth kicks and Tigers attack...
TIGERS CREEP OUT OF HALF
Tigers come forward and keep the ball following the kick off and make their way up to the half-way line, but Sale come back and find touch in the Tigers corner.
The line-out comes in but falls loose as Freddie Steward collects, he's held up and Wigglesworth box kicks to touch,
SALE KICK US OFF IN ROUND 7
AJ MacGinty gets things underway at Mattioli Woods Welford Road with Tigers receiving the kick and attacking the Nottingham Building Society stand.
LIVE IN FIVE
The players make their way into the changing rooms with just five minutes until we kick off this Friday night.
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DEBUT DAY FOR MONTOYA
New signing and Argentina international hooker Julián Montoya is in line for his club debut after being included among the replacements.
Read what he had to say when he sat down to speak with the Tigers media team following his arrival.
Youngs lines up with fellow international Dan Cole who is included at tighthead prop and South African front-rower Luan de Bruin.
Harry Wells and Calum Green are the locks for Friday with Hanro Liebenberg, Tommy Reffell and Jasper Wiese included in the back row of the pack.
Richard Wigglesworth returns from suspension to start at scrum-half and is joined by Zack Henry at fly-half.
In the Leicester midfield, Matt Scott partners Matías Moroni, with Nemani Nadolo and Kobus Van Wyk included as the wings, with Freddie Steward at 15.
200 NOT OUT – SKIPPER’S MILESTONE
Club captain Tom Youngs will make his 200th appearance for Leicester Tigers in this evening’s match.
The Tigers Academy graduate, who made his senior debut in 2006 as a centre, moved to the front row in 2009 and was appointed captain of the club ahead of the 2016/17 season.
We asked those closest to him to share a special message ahead of the match...
WELCOME TO MATTIOLI WOODS WELFORD ROAD
Hello to all the #TigersAtHome around the world as Sale Sharks come to town in Round 7 of the Gallagher Premiership.
After an impromptu break in the season, the rugby is back and while fans are still unable to join us here in the stadium, we’ll be bringing you all the action as it happens with Matchday Live.