Marland Yarde scored a hat-trick to help Sale Sharks thrash Leicester Tigers 36-3 to consolidate their top four place in the Gallagher Premiership.
The ex-England international was helped by Bryn Evans and Coenie Oosthuizen who both scored a try each to secure the winning bonus point.
Tonight’s victory means that Sale leapfrog Northampton Saints into second place until at least Sunday when they take on Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.
Still stinging from their defeat at Saracens last week, it took a while for Steve Diamond’s men to get going and silly mistakes saw them fall three points behind with less than five minutes on the clock.
The Sharks needed to focus and put the early errors behind them. Their improved effort was rewarded nine minutes before half-time as Evans charged down a box kick from Leicester scrum-half van Poortvliet and the ball fell nicely for the second-row to give his side the lead.
Two minutes later, Yarde broke free on the 10 metre line to score Sale’s second try of the night making it 10-3. Dan du Preez converted the try to add the extra two points.
There was however to be one more try before the break. Oosthuizen pushed his way over and was given a try by the Television Match Official. Du Preez added the extras and Sale led 19-3 at half-time.
With the wind behind them in the second half, Sale found a new gear and spent a large amount of the first 10 minutes in the Leicester 22. Lineout after lineout, scrum after scrum… but to no avail.
Du Preez added three more points in the 53rd minute to extend Sale’s lead to 19 points, making life difficult for their visitors who lie 11th in the table with only the disgraced Saracens below them.
Leicester succumbed to the pressure when Yarde scored his second try of the evening 12 minutes from time to clinch the bonus point for the home side – darting over in the corner.
Yarde completed the rout four minutes later to fill his side with confidence as they head to Gloucester next weekend.
Sale Sharks: (15-9) Hammersley, Solomona (Reed 74′), S James, L James, Yarde, R du Preez, Cliff (Warr 74′) (1-8) Oosthuizen (Harrison 40′), Webber (Langdon 70′), Cooper-Woolley (John 49′), Evans (Postlethwaite 70′), J-L du Preez, Ross (c) (Phillips 67′), Wilson, D du Preez (Curtis 74′)
Leicester Tigers: (15-9) Veainu, Holmes, Taute (McPhillips 14′), Eastmond, Olowofela, Reid, van Poortvliet (Simmons 59′) (1-8) Bateman (Leatigaga 56′), Polota-Nau (Kerr 54′), Cole (c) (Heyes 66′), Lavanini (Batley 60′), Spencer, Liebenberg, Reffell (Wells 45′), Boladau
Referee: Ian Tempest
Man of the Match: Rob Webber
Image credit: Sale Sharks