European Rugby Champions Cup: Sale Sharks 25-23 Scarlets
|European Champions Cup Pool Three|
|Sale Sharks (16) 25|
|Tries: Odogwu, Addison Pens: MacGinty 5|
|Scarlets (10) 23|
|Tries: Van der Merwe, penalty Cons: Jones 2 Pens: Jones 3|
Sale ended a run of 10 successive defeats with an entertaining victory over Scarlets at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Neither side could progress to the next phase of the competition but Sale made a much more positive start and were 16 points clear by the half-hour mark.
Paolo Odogwu and Will Addison scored impressive tries before DTH van der Merwe crossed for the visitors.
After the break Scarlets won a penalty try and went ahead late on, but Alan MacGinty's fifth penalty sealed it.
Sale began with a points difference of -103 and made headlines off the field in midweek by sacking winger Tom Arscott after he allegedly leaked confidential team information to Bristol.
But they appeared galvanised and some direct play led to Odogwu going over in the corner in theatrical fashion, with Addison accelerating from close to the halfway line and bursting through a gap to add a second try.
Van der Merwe helped to reduce the deficit when he crossed in the corner and had the presence of mind to touch down under the posts.
Scarlets continued their resurgence in the second half and a maul took them to within inches of line, which Magnus Lund was deemed to have illegally pulled down, for which a penalty try was awarded and the Sale player sent to the sin bin.
A mammoth penalty from the reliable boot of Dan Jones put the Welsh side in front for the first time as Sale felt the pressure of only one win in their last 19 Champions Cup matches.
But the home side rallied and MacGinty held his nerve to slot the decisive penalty between the posts.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:
"Coming off the losses we've had, to dig as deep as we did to win it, was refreshing to say the least.
"The beauty of the week, however traumatic it looks from the outside, when your senior players approach you and they tell you what's happened, it's my job to act on that.
"I made the decision after consulting all information given and that's where it goes.
"We would have liked to have done it in-house but you can't, you have to inform the governing bodies and they make it public. It's behind us, it was a stupid thing to do by the individual but people do silly things."
Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac:
"It was always going to be testing following the emotion of last week's game. That was always going to be a test for us and we talked about that.
"We certainly came here looking for a result and a win, but a 16-0 head-start was probably a little bit too much.
"The performance of today was not the Scarlets of the last six matches."
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