Sale winger Arron Reed stole the show, scoring two pivotal tries that propelled his side to the summit of the Gallagher Premiership. The Sharks secured a remarkable 40-22 comeback victory at home against bottom-placed Newcastle in a thrilling northern derby at the AJ Bell Stadium.
In a game filled with end-to-end action, Sale demonstrated resilience and determination as they overcame an early deficit against an inspired Newcastle side. Outside centre Sam James and wing Tom Roebuck contributed crucial tries in the final minutes to secure Sale’s dominance.
The match showcased the attacking prowess of both teams, with England’s Ben Curry and South Africa’s Rob Du Preez adding to Sale’s tally with tries in the first half. However, Sale’s characteristic slow start saw them fall behind within two minutes as Newcastle’s teenage full-back Ben Redshaw executed a precise 50-22.
Despite Sale’s struggle to break through Newcastle’s defense, winger Tom Roebuck’s kick-chase down the flank, combined with Arron Reed’s dummy, resulted in a crucial try. Sale’s ill-discipline, leading to three consecutive penalties, allowed Newcastle’s skipper Callum Chick to power over for a try.
Approaching the half-hour mark, Sale turned the tide. A penalty and a line-out set the stage for Ben Curry to muscle through a sea of bodies, giving Sale a 12-10 lead. Sale continued to dominate, securing another line-out deep in Falcons territory, leading to Rob Du Preez’s try under the posts.
Arron Reed’s explosive burst through two defenders added to Sale’s bonus-point tally, showcasing the home side’s attacking flair. Despite an impressive restart by Newcastle’s debutant replacement centre Oliver Spencer, who broke the Sharks line and forced a penalty, Sale’s Jonny Hill and Du Preez orchestrated another try for hooker Bryan Byrne.
Newcastle’s Iwan Stephens brought excitement to the game with a solo effort, scoring under the posts and earning the visitors a try bonus point. However, Sale’s new front row took control of the set-piece and the loose, forcing Newcastle to concede four penalties in quick succession.
In the 76th minute, Newcastle’s Oliver Spencer was sin-binned for an illegal rip on Gus Warr, setting the stage for Sale’s dominance in the scrum. Scrum-half Warr’s quick play allowed Sam James to power over, securing the victory.
In the final minute, Warr’s link-up with James freed up Tom Roebuck to sprint down the flank and slide over, completing Sale’s statement win and solidifying their position at the top of the Gallagher Premiership under the leadership of Alex Sanderson.