Premiership: Sale Sharks 20-13 Northampton Saints
|Sale Sharks (13) 20|
|Tries: James, Addison Cons: Cipriani 2 Pens: Cipriani 2|
|Northampton Saints (6) 13|
|Try: Myler Con: Myler Pens: Myler 2|
|Relive Sunday's Premiership rugby|
Sale Sharks held on to record an eye-catching win over Northampton Saints, who have now lost two of their opening three games of the Premiership season.
Sam James, a late replacement for Sam Tuitupou, put the Sharks into a 13-6 half-time lead with a kick-and-run try.
Sale's Danny Cipriani and Saints' Stephen Myler also both kicked two penalties in the first period.
Will Addison's try furthered Sale's lead and they held on despite Myler's score for the visitors.
Jim Mallinder's Saints, who lost to Worcester in their opening fixture, came close on numerous occasions at the AJ Bell Stadium, with Jamie Gibson having a try ruled out by the television match official for a foot out of play.
Saints full-back Ben Foden was also pushed into touch just short of the line and, right at the death, Samoan Ahsee Tuala came within inches of the try-line but was kept out by the Sale defence.
They found themselves behind after James' creativity, and Addison out-leaping Ken Pisi to a high kick and going over right underneath the posts.
Sale had chances to make the game safe, despite Myler crossing off the back of a well-worked line-out, but Cipriani and Nick Macleod both missed penalties to give their visitors hope.
However, they just held on to win for the second successive game and put early pressure on a Saints side many believed would challenge at the top of the table.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:
"In the first half we attacked very well with the possession we got and the driving maul became a weapon.
"It managed to suck them in so there was space out wide. We're a different kettle of fish at home. As long as we can guarantee some ball, with the players we've got we'll always go all right.
"It was a test of character in the last 10 minutes when we had no ball and were conceding field position all the time, but we managed to stay resilient, be disciplined and see the game out."
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder:
"It was very disappointing. We've not got a brilliant record up here, we knew it was going to be difficult, Sale play to a certain style and they're very difficult to beat.
"We shot ourselves in the foot and when you concede two silly tries like we did, you're always fighting an uphill battle."
On winger George North's fitness: "George came back to us with a hamstring injury from Wales so we've been unable to play him, but I think he will be fit for next week."
Sale Sharks: Haley; Arscott, James, Leota, Addison; Cipriani, Cusiter; Harrison, Taylor, Cobilas, Evans, Mills, Braid (capt), Ioane, Beaumont.
Replacements: Briggs, Flynn, Mujati, Ostrikov, Lund, Stringer, Macleod, Jennings.
Northampton Saints: Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, Burrell, Elliott; Myler, Fotuali'i; Waller, Haywood, Brookes, Lawes, Paterson, Gibson, Wood, (capt), Dickson.
Replacements: Hartley, Waller, Hill, Day, Fisher, Dickson, Hanrahan, Tuala.
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