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AJ MacGinty kicks 15 points as Sale ease to Premiership victory over Northampton

By PA
AJ MacGinty kicked Sale to victory over Northampton (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

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AJ MacGinty claimed 15 points as Sale eased past Northampton 30-6 in the Gallagher Premiership at a rain-soaked AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday evening.

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Akker Van Der Merwe, Marland Yarde and Jono Ross crossed over as the hosts bounced back from defeats at Leicester and Worcester.

Northampton enjoyed plenty of territory and possession but they were rebuffed by a determined Sale defence, which refused to provide any gaps for the away side to exploit.

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The Saints – missing 23 players due to injury and international duty – ended the evening with just two James Grayson penalties to show for their efforts.

Northampton had been dealt a triple blow before kick-off as Fraser Dingwall, Teimana Harrison and Juarno Augustus were forced to withdraw from the squad due to injury.

But the Saints were the ones who went in front early on thanks to a Grayson penalty.

The Sharks soon showed their bite, though, kicking a penalty to the corner and scoring after the visiting pack splintered, allowing Sale to work the ball to Van Der Merwe for the opening try.

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MacGinty kicked the conversion superbly in windy conditions and Northampton missed the chance to respond as Grayson sent his penalty wide of the posts.

The hosts were moving forward in relentless fashion in the rain, but the Saints held out, until a penalty for obstruction allowed MacGinty to extend their lead.

And MacGinty soon notched another three points as the Northampton penalty count continued to rise.

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However, Sale were not having it all their own way and the away side managed some sustained pressure before the break.

Eventually, Northampton grabbed another three points from the boot of Grayson as they stayed in touch.

But Sale came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, scoring inside three minutes as Yarde gathered a perfectly-weighted MacGinty kick and dotted down.

MacGinty kicked the conversion to make it 20-6 and the Saints were still struggling to find openings in the resolute Sale defence.

And even when the visitors got a chance to mount a series of attacks from a succession of lineouts in the home 22, the Sharks held firm.

Grayson missed a penalty as Northampton decided to go for goal with yet another kick and MacGinty made them pay at the other end with a successful effort from the tee.

There was plenty of huff and puff as the game started to fade, with Northampton out of losing bonus-point range.

And Sale had the final say as Ross powered over, with MacGinty again kicking the conversion brilliantly too add the gloss.

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