Sale Sharks secured their second consecutive Gallagher Premiership victory under interim head coach Paul Deacon with a battling 20-13 triumph over Worcester Warriors at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Despite a slow start, Sale went on to control much of the first half, going 13-3 ahead at the break thanks to Faf de Klerk’s try and eight points from the boot of AJ MacGinty.
Duncan Weir provided Worcester’s sole response before the interval and then added another in the second period but Sale sealed the win when Jono Ross went over late on.
The Warriors did earn a losing bonus-point via a penalty try but it was not enough as they succumbed to their fourth defeat of the season, while the Sharks moved up to third.
After three successive losses under Deacon, Sale received a confidence-booster against Gloucester, but they initially struggled to build on that result against Worcester.
Mistakes pervaded the opening quarter and it was Worcester that had the first chance inside the opposition 22. They pressurised the Sale line and sent numerous big runners towards the whitewash, but the hosts’ defence held firm.
It was the intervention the Sharks needed and, after MacGinty had kicked them in front from the tee, Deacon’s charges put together a well-worked move.
They opened space out wide for Marland Yarde to burst down the left before De Klerk sniped around the fringes. Worcester were under pressure and two phases later the scrum-half had extended the home side’s buffer.
Their fly-half also converted and it put the Sharks in the ascendency. They continued to control proceedings with the visitors conceding some needless penalties and MacGinty was on target for the third time to move his side 13 points clear.
The midlands outfit were failing to make real headway but a mistake from the hosts on the stroke of half-time allowed Weir to reduce the arrears going into the second period.
That last act – an error followed by an infringement – summed up a pretty tepid affair and those frustrations continued after the break, with neither team gaining a foothold in the contest.
Step forward Worcester’s Oli Morris who, despite receiving the ball in traffic, powered through several tackles and took play to within inches of the line. Ted Hill then surged towards the whitewash but he was stopped short as the visitors were forced to settle for a second Weir penalty.
That moved the Warriors back into the contest and they maintained their pressure on the hosts, who infringed yet again when a brilliant read from Morris sent MacGinty flying backwards, but this time their fly-half missed the target.
It was a miss that was to prove costly as Sale secured the win via Ross before a late penalty try rescued a losing bonus-point for the away side.
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