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Tigers take point from defeat at Sale

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Leicester Tigers had to settle for a losing bonus point after going down to a 27-20 defeat to Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium on Easter Sunday.

Tigers trailed 17-6 shortly before half-time but fought back to level the scores at 20-20 through scores by Tommy Bell and Vereniki Goneva.

However, Danny Cipriani’s individual try nine minutes from time, adding to scores by Nev Edwards and Cameron Neild, settled the Aviva Premiership clash in favour of the Sharks, who remain unbeaten at home this season.
 
Tigers welcomed back Grand Slam-winning trio Dan Cole, Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs to the starting XV. Cole joined Marcos Ayerza and Harry Thacker in the front row, Youngs partnered Freddie Burns at fly-half while Tuilagi joined Owen Williams at centre.
 
Sale threatened an early try when Sam James made a break down the left and had Edwards on his outside with just Bell to beat. However, Bell halted James and prevented the offload but Tigers went off their feet and Cipriani kicked Sale into a 3-0 lead after three minutes.
 
Tigers had the wind at their backs in the first half and looked to make the most of their advantage when Ben Youngs tapped and went with a 10m penalty. However, he was stopped just short and won a second penalty at the ruck.
 
Tigers went to the corner and had Sale under pressure at the resulting maul. It was dragged down and Tommy Taylor was shown a yellow card. Tigers went for the lineout drive again and this time sent Goneva down the narrow channel but the wing lost possession in Edward's tackle as he tried to dot down.
 
Tigers continued to press and won a penalty as Sale went off their feet in front of the posts. This time Burns landed the kick to ensure they came away with their first points.
 
Sale went to the corner when presented with a kickable penalty of their own on 18 minutes. However, Tigers stood firm in the face of a series of Sale phases and eventually won the holding-on penalty.
 
However, Burns failed to find touch and back came Sale to score the game’s opening try. Cipriani made the initial break into the Leicester 22 where he and then Edwards were crowded out. But Sale kept the ball alive and back-rower Cameron Neild forced his way over from close range. Cipriani converted to give Sale a 10-3 lead.
 
Peter Betham replaced Burns, who had taken an earlier knock. Tigers rejigged the backline. Williams moved to fly-half and Betham partnered Tuilagi in midfield.
 
Tigers won a penalty at the restart and Williams’s kicked cut the deficit to 10-6 after 25 minutes.
 
Tigers had Sale under pressure at a driving lineout but spilled possession and Sale counterattacked. Cipriani kicked up to halfway where Bell tried to shepherd the ball into touch. However, the wind held it up, Will Addison kneed ahead and gathered and Edwards had a simple run-in under the posts. Referee Thomas Foley went to his TMO to confirm the score before Cipriani converted to put Sale 17-6 ahead.
 
Tigers got back into the game with a try 90 seconds before the break. Tuilagi fended off Addison’s tackle to get them going forward. Williams and then Kitchener made further inroads and when Tuilagi rejoined the attack his pass put Bell in at the left corner. Williams’s conversion cut Sale’s lead to 17-13 at the break.
 
Sale, with the wind at their backs, had Tigers under pressure early in the second period. Sam Tuitupou was dragged down just short but Pearce failed to roll and received a yellow card. Cipriani kicked the penalty to move Sale 20-13 ahead.
 
Play was suspended for around 10 minutes with 26 minutes remaining while an electrical storm passed over the stadium. And when it resumed Cipriani was wide with an attempted drop goal.
 
Opeti Fonua, who was introduced for Pearce at the end of his sin-bin spell, gave Tigers impetus with a break on halfway before Youngs’s kick took them up to the Sale 22.
 
The momentum was now with Tigers as Croft’s run won a holding on penalty that Williams kicked to the 22. Then, with a penalty advantage at the maul, Tigers shifted the ball to the left flank and Goneva powered over for his eighth try of the season. Williams’s conversion brought Tigers level at 20-20 with 17 minutes remaining.
 
However, Tigers were unable to consolidate their position. Instead, a moment of skill by Cipriani opened the Tigers defence, the fly-half darted down the blindside and evaded the covering defence to score at the left corner. Cipriani converted to give Sale a 27-20 lead with nine minutes remaining.
 
There was a grandstand finish as Tigers kept the ball alive through phase after phase with the clock having ticked over. Tigers forced their way from deep inside their own territory up to the Sharks line but just as a try looked like to be coming they spilled possession to signal the end of the game.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

SAL 17-13 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

SAL 27-20 LEI

Attendance

7,687

Referee

Tom Foley

Match Stats

Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers
Possession
53%
47%
Territory
52%
48%
Penalties Conceded
12
8
Yellow Cards
1
1
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
119/151 79%
131/146 90%
Scrums Won
12/12 100%
5/5 100%
Lineouts Won
13/13 0%
8/8 0%

Player Stats

Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Tommy Bell1T
14
13Manu Tuilagi
122C1P
111T
101P
9Ben Youngs
1Marcos Ayerza
2Harry Thacker
3Dan Cole
4
5Graham Kitchener
6Laurence Pearce
7
8
16Greg Bateman
17Ellis Genge
18Fraser Balmain
19Sebastian De Chaves
20
21
22Peter Betham
23Telusa Veainu
Sale Sharks
Sale Sharks
27

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
20

Tigers Lineup

Starting XV

Tommy Bell
15
Tommy Bell
12
11
10
Marcos Ayerza
1
Marcos Ayerza
4
Laurence Pearce
6
Laurence Pearce
8

Subs

Fraser Balmain
18
Fraser Balmain
Sebastian De Chaves
19
Sebastian De Chaves
20
Peter Betham
22
Peter Betham

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Mike Haley
14
Will Addison
13
Sam James
12
Sam Tuitupou
11
10
9
1
2
Tommy Taylor
3
Vadim Cobilas
4
5
Jonathan Mills
6
Cameron Neild
7
8
Mark Easter

Subs

16
Neil Briggs
17
Ross Harrison
18
19
20
Magnus Lund
21
22
23
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
4
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI2214085094753455486365
6
Sale Sharks
Sale SharksSAL221129456459-353526458
Form Guide
Form
LWLWW
Last Match
Beat Worcester Warriors 20-13
Past Meeting
Won 40-31
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
DWDDD
Last Match
Draw with Brive null-null
Past Meeting
Lost 31-40

Matchday Live

Sale Sharks27
Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers20
Leicester Tigers
Full Time