The Sale Sharks beat Saracens 24-17 in an exciting clash, while there were also wins for the Exeter Chiefs, Bristol Bears, Wasps, Bath and Harlequins in round 19 of the English Premiership played on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Both sides fielded second-string lineups for this mid-week clash, but that didn’t in any way diminish the fixture.
The early stages were equally contested, with both teams crashing over for converted tries. However, Sale – featuring Rob du Preez at flyhalf and brother Dan at No 8 – seized control with two more tries for a 21-7 lead at the break.
Saracens were more competitive after the interval, while Sale could only add three more points to their tally via the boot of Du Preez, who contributed nine points in total.
Dan du Preez was one of the best players on the field, producing a performance that included in a game-high 79 run metres, 17 carries, 12 passes, 10 tackles, four defenders beaten, five stunning offloads and one clean break.
Faf de Klerk, Jean-Luc du Preez and debutant Cobus Wiese were all introduced at the 60-minute mark by Sale.
Elsewhere, the Exeter Chiefs consolidated their place at the top of the log with a comfortable 35-22 bonus-point win over Gloucester. Flank Jacques Vermeulen starred for Exeter once again, with 45 run metres over 13 ball carries, four defenders beaten, one clean break, one lineout steal and nine tackles. Gloucester No 8 Ruan Ackermann was also influential for his team, making 41 run metres over 12 ball carries, beating four defenders with one clean break and nine tackles.
Meanwhile, Bristol made light work of the Northampton Saints as they came away with a 47-10 bonus-point win from their fixture, Wasps scored eight tries to thrash the Leicester Tigers 54-7 at home, Bath trounced the Worcester Warriors 40-15 and Harlequins erased a half-time deficit to overcome London Irish 38-15.
Mid-week Premiership results (Round 19)
Sale Sharks 24 Saracens 17
Exeter Chiefs 35 Gloucester 22
Bristol Bears 47 Northampton Saints 10
Wasps 54 Leicester Tigers 7
Bath 40 Worcester Warriors 15
Harlequins 38 London Irish 15
Photo: Sale Sharks/Twitter