Leicester Tigers have fallen to Sale Sharks at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in round two of the Gallagher Premiership, an improved performance from Tigers not enough to overcome last year’s finalists, the final score 24-17.
Tigers' Head coach Dan McKellar was pleased with his side’s effort in front of a healthy home crowd, Tigers still without 13 international players.
Tigers took an early lead through fullback Mike Brown, the veteran picking a hole on Sale’s defence 10 metres from the line.
That try seemed to spark the visitors and after generating quick ball at the breakdown, Tom Roebuck found a seam in the middle of Leicester’s defence to score under the posts.
Sale looked to have scored a second out wide, after a break from Rob du Preez set up Tom O'Flaherty but, the TMO intervened after spotting a knock-on in the build-up forced by Kyle Hatherell and the decision was reviewed and overturned.
Sharks continued to press for their second however, and after three referrals to the TMO, Ersnt van Rhyn was awarded the try. Rob Du Preez’s second conversion made it 14-5.
Straight off the kick-off, Leicester earned a penalty deep inside Sale’s half. The forwards went to the corner, generated the momentum and although Sharks stopped the initial drive, pressure turned to points as captain Hanro Liebenberg snuck under a couple of defenders and willed his way over the line.
Jamie Shillcock converted to make it 14-12 at the break.
Sale were first on the board after halftime, Du Preez knocking over a penalty, leaving the game poised for a gruelling finish at 17-12.
The pivotal moments would come in the last quarter-of-an-hour. Shillcock produced a brilliant kick in the shadow of his own goalposts that resulted in a 50:22, giving Tigers the feed.
Leicester couldn’t convert however, and Sale broke from inside their half. The visitors won a scrum and Du Preez produced some magic to dance over for the winning try.
Tigers through everything at Sale’s defence in the dying moments looking to force a draw but the telling pass never came and Sharks closed out the win, 24-17.