Premiership: Sale Sharks 25-22 Gloucester

Faf de Klerk scores for Sale
Faf de Klerk scored Sale's opening try against Gloucester
Gallagher Premiership
Sale (12) 25
Tries: De Klerk, Reed, Yarde Cons: Du Preez, MacGinty Pens: MacGinty 2
Gloucester (8) 22
Tries: May, Carreras, Heinz Cons: Twelvetrees 2 Pen: Barton

Sale survived Rob du Preez's first-half red card to overcome Gloucester and keep their play-off bid on course.

Fly-half Du Preez was sent off after only 23 minutes for a tip tackle on Gloucester prop Val Rapava-Ruskin.

At the time Sale led 12-5 through tries from Faf de Klerk and Arron Reed, with Jonny May replying for Gloucester.

Marland Yarde's try extended the lead before Gloucester's Santiago Carreras and Willie Heinz went over to salvage a losing bonus point for the visitors.

Gloucester thought they had pinched the game with a late try from Mark Atkinson but replays revealed a knock-on before the ball fell to him.

It was a 12th defeat of the season for the Cherry and Whites, who remain 11th in the Premiership, and they only seriously broke down Sale's defence when they were chasing the game.

Sale, who stay third, four points behind Exeter in second, saw a series of drives for the line in the closing minutes fail as they missed out on a four-try bonus point.

But having played a man down for so long, victory itself was an impressive achievement as Alex Sanderson's side bounced back from defeat in their Champions Cup quarter-final at La Rochelle last weekend.

Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson:

"It [discipline] is addressed, constantly addressed, through our behaviours, through an awareness. Any discipline has got to be self-discipline.

"We're going to get caught out at some point, it does need to improve. I thought the discipline generally was good but it's the yellow and red cards you're talking about.

"We're such a physical team, a big, upright team and we tend to give a lot of shots around the neck. This was slightly different in that it was a tip-tackle from Rob du Preez, who's not a dirty player, but it is what it is.

"I'm fed up of calling refs, saying 'that was hard luck', as it's out of your control. You can't control that, so otherwise you end up being quite a bitter old man if you're blaming the refs for penalties and your own ill-discipline.

"If you get everything right in terms of your systems, discipline doesn't come into it. If we had got our exit right, got our ruck right, it [the red card] wouldn't have happened.

"If you focus on yourself and focus on what you do then the rest should look after itself."

Gloucester head coach George Skivington:

"The lads were bringing the physicality, the lads were organised and I think them losing a player actually knocked us off our stride.

"We started playing a little bit differently to what we set out to do. We probably tried to get to that third phase before we had run the first and second.

"I was disappointed with how we managed it. I thought the effort and physicality was there, I thought the two defences went toe-to-toe, but in the end they managed it better than us."

Sale: L James; Reed, S James, Van Rensburg, Yard; R Du Preez, De Klerk; Harrison, Van Der Merwe, Oosthuizen, Wiese, JP Du Preez, JL Du Preez, T Curry, D Du Preez.

Replacements: Langdon, Morozov, Harper, Phillips, Neild, Cliff, MacGinty, Hammersley.

Gloucester: Carreras; Rees-Zammit, Harris, Atkinson, May; Barton, Chapman; Rapava-Ruskin, Singleton, Balmain, Slater, Craig, Clement, Ludlow, Ackermann.

Replacements: Walker, Seville, Ford-Robinson, Garvey, Morgan, Heinz, Twelvetrees, Moyle.

Referee: Adam Leal (RFU)