Rob du Preez kicked eight points as Sale upset Northampton 18-13, while there were also wins for Worcester, Newcastle, Exeter, Wasps and Saracens in the English Premiership.
With captain Jono Ross and Springboks Faf de Klerk, Du Preez and his brother Jean-Luc du Preez all in the Sale Sharks’ starting lineup, the hosts ground out a positive result to see them move up to 12th on the table.
Scrumhalf Cobus Reinach ensured that the Northampton Saints got off to a perfect start when he glided over for the opening try just five minutes into the game. But Denny Solomona’s try and Du Preez’s conversion gave Sale a slender two-point lead at the break.
Du Preez added a penalty to Sale’s tally after the restart, but another unconverted try saw Northampton draw level at 10-10. It was all Sale after that as they won the territorial battle and kept Northampton pinned in their own half. Solomona completed his brace, and although Du Preez missed the conversion, he knocked over a second penalty.
There would be no way back for Northampton, but the visitors did earn a losing bonus point for finishing within seven points, thanks to flyhalf James Grayson’s last-ditch penalty.
In other results, Nick Schonert scored a crucial try to help the Worcester Warriors beat Harlequins 20-13, the Newcastle Falcons defeated Bath 16-8, the Exeter Chiefs thumped Gloucester 23-6, Juan de Jongh scored one of four tries as Wasps edged rivals the Bristol Bears 32-28, and Saracens withstood a late surge to secure a 27-22 win against the Leicester Tigers.
Round 8 results:
Sale Sharks 18 Northampton Saints 13
Worcester Warriors 20 Harlequins 13
Newcastle Falcons 16 Bath 8
Exeter Chiefs 23 Gloucester 6
Wasps 32 Bristol Bears 28
Leicester Tigers 22 Saracens 27