Edinburgh produced an excellent comeback from 12 points down to keep their Champions Cup hopes alive following a 16-15 triumph over Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Despite a decent start from the Scots, who missed the chance to go ahead via an early Jaco Van Der Walt penalty, the Sharks controlled the rest of the half.
They touched down twice via Denny Solomona and Rohan Janse Van Rensburg to open up a 12-0 advantage but the visitors would hit back impressively in the second period.
Mark Bennett crossed the whitewash to reduce the arrears before successive Van Der Walt penalties took the Murrayfield-based outfit in front.
Rob Du Preez did regain Sale’s lead but it was the Scottish side that would claim the win through Van Der Walt’s late three-pointer.
Richard Cockerill’s men have endured a disappointing season but they began this contest brightly, turning Sale over at will and causing their opponents’ usually stout rearguard some problems.
Scotland hooker Stuart McInally showed his quality in broken field, surging down the right-hand side and setting up a promising position. However, their old frailties came back to haunt them and the move did not come to anything.
Instead, it was the English outfit that opened the scoring and it came via a piece of quick-thinking from Sam James. Cockerill will also apportion plenty of blame to his side as they switched off at a line-out, allowing the full-back to find Rob Du Preez who shipped it on to Solomona to finish.
The Sharks had found their rhythm and they went over for a second try soon after. The visitors once again had defensive issues, shooting out of the line too quickly and failing to grasp hold of Janse Van Rensburg.
It proved costly as the centre spun out of the tackle and powered to the line unopposed, handing the hosts a 12-0 advantage.
With the Sharks unable to put their opponents away, Edinburgh increased the intensity in the second period, especially at the set-piece and duly got themselves back into the contest.
Hamish Watson made the initial in-roads by staying on his feet and getting to within five metres of the line before the ball was shifted right for Bennett to finish.
Van Der Walt converted and then ate into the deficit further when another scrum penalty got them into a position to attack the hosts’ defence.
Sale were beginning to implode, making rash errors and needlessly infringing. Springboks star Faf de Klerk was one such culprit, attempting to run the ball out when it was not on.
It resulted in another shot at goal for the recently-capped Scotland international and he made no mistake to give Edinburgh the lead for the first time in the match.
They had gained control of the encounter but almost contrived to concede a try when gifting possession to SAle. Sam Dugdale created the opportunity with an excellent run, linking with JP Du Preez but the second-row’s offload was deemed forward.
In a see-saw contest, Edinburgh then gave up a kickable penalty, which allowed Rob Du Preez to regain the Sharks’ advantage but there was to be another twist with 10 minutes to go.
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