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England's Manu Tuilagi plays starring role as Sale overpower Worcester

Manu Tuilagi /Getty

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Manu Tuilagi triggered a second-half surge on his first start for Sale since returning from injury as they defeated Worcester 36-12 at the AJ Bell Stadium.


Sale went in front early on through Sam James but were pegged back by the Warriors, who took a 12-10 advantage into the interval via Tom Howe and Niall Annett tries.

However, Tuilagi touched down to give his side the lead in the second half and they never looked back.

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Arron Reed, who also scored in the opening period, completed his brace, while Curtis Langdon and Rohan Janse van Rensburg crossed the whitewash to seal a comfortable win which takes them closer to the top-four.

Having beaten league leaders Leicester and defending champions Harlequins over the past two weeks, confidence was high in the Sale camp.

Despite the blow of losing Lood de Jager to injury just before kick-off, the hosts started with intent and were ahead after two minutes.

It was all a bit too easy from a Worcester point of view as Rob du Preez gave James a simple run to the line for a 5-0 advantage.


The Warriors, now under the guidance of former Sharks boss Steve Diamond, showed excellent spirit to get back into the match, however. The home side aided their cause by giving away a number of needless penalties but Worcester created their opener impressively.

Youngster Fin Smith, who starred for the England Under-20s last season, delayed his pass superbly and sent Howe across the whitewash unopposed. The fly-half also converted to give his side the lead.


Sale were making far too many errors but they did manage to put one coherent move together when AJ MacGinty broke through and kicked ahead for the lightning quick Reed to finish.


Mistakes continued to hamper Alex Sanderson’s men, though, and when Faf de Klerk had his attempted clearance charged down, the visitors were back ahead as Annett went over.

Diamond’s charges had been aided by the wind in the first half, but with it against them in the second period, they were immediately penned back.

The Sharks messed up one opportunity due to a knock on but did not pass up their next chance as Tuilagi surged across the whitewash.

Sale now had the momentum, and after Perry Humphreys had been sin-binned for a cynical tackle on Reed, Langdon went over.

Raffi Quirke had played a key part in that score after making the off-load which sent Janse van Rensburg clear and led to Humphreys’ yellow card, and he continued to be influential moments later.

After Worcester had conceded another penalty, Quirke took a quick tap, passed to Cameron Neild and the back-row’s superb grubber through was collected and finished by Reed.

That try effectively sealed the win but the Sharks still had one final word as a brilliant move, involving Quirke and MacGinty, was finished off by Janse van Rensburg.


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