A late Lewis Ludlow try was not enough to help Gloucester to beat Newcastle whilst a Denny Solomona inspired Sale left Northampton with all five points.
Gloucester 20-21 Newcastle Falcons
Newcastle became the first side to leave Kingsholm with a win in the Premiership this season after a late Billy Twelvetrees conversion slipped narrowly wide.
The Falcons occupied the final play-off position before the start of play and they maintained that thanks to a workmanlike performance and some moments of magic – especially from Michael Young.
The scrum-half cutting through the Gloucester defence in the first 40 to send Ally Hogg over before going over himself in the second half. A late Lewis Ludlow try looked to have potentially turned the contest in the favour of Johan Ackermann’s men but the kick was sent wide.
Three Joel Hodgson penalties alongside Hogg’s try had put Newcastle 16-5 up at the interval, although Jason Woodward’s magical try was the standout moment of he match. The full-back kicked through before collecting and diving over.
David Halaifonua scored the first try of the second half when he powered over in the corner. The try owing much to an excellent in and out by Woodward before he managed to pass wide. Young then deservedly scored his try to push the gap out in favour of Dean Richards’ side.
Mark Atkinson crossed to cut the deficit to six points heading into the game’s final chapter and Lewis Ludlow’s try came after some sustained pressure to set up the grandstand finish but the last unbeaten record in the land is finally ended and Newcastle’s play-off push is firmly on track.
Tries: Woodward, Halaifonua, Atkinson, Ludlow
Tries: Hogg, Young
Pens: Hodgson 3
Northampton 25-34 Sale
Sale Sharks just about kept themselves in touch of a play-off spot after an inspired first 40 minutes saw them romp home against a lethargic Northampton side.
No doubt still hurting after last weekend’s narrow loss at the Rec after Bath’s late late show; Steve Diamond’s men wrapped up the bonus point before half-time owing much to a Denny Solomona hat-trick.
The England winger the first to bother the scoreboard when an overlap out wide was exposed by Sam James to send the rugby league covert over. He owed much to the supporting cast for his second after an excellent team move put the visitors 17-3 up following a Piers Francis penalty.
Solomona’s hat-trick was complete in the 34th minute when he dotted down out wide before Faf se Klerk kicked the conversion. Eager not to be shown up three minutes later Solomona’s wing colleague Marland Yarde scored an excellent individual try after De Klerk hacked on only to see the bounce sit up perfectly for the Sale man.
A further Francis penalty left the score 31-6 at the Gardens when the whistle blew and the contest looked as good as done. Saints knew they had to come out firing and they did exactly that when Michael Paterson crossed over from the back of a ruck.
Francis converted and then provided the final pass for Rob Horne to cut the deficit further. The initial good work done by Nafi Tuitavake allowing the Australian to score for the second consecutive week.
A De Klerk penalty pushed the gap out to 16 points and calm any potential Northampton storm that was brewing. With nine minutes remaining South African Heinrich Brussow stretched out to scored Saints third try out the afternoon with Francis again kicking the extras but the damage had already been done.
Tries: Paterson, Horne, Brussow
Cons: Francis 2
Pens: Francis 2
Tries: Solomona 3, Yarde
Cons: De Klerk 4
Pens: De Klerk 2