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Summary

  1. FT: Northampton 24-5 Sale
  2. Foden, Wood and Burrell for Saints
  3. Groom with two disallowed tries
  4. Fine Solomona try on Premiership debut
  5. Win moves Saints up to sixth
  6. Sale winless in league since October

Live Reporting

By Chris Ellis

All times stated are UK

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It's a Happy Christmas for the Saints

Northampton 24-5 Sale

So, that's the festive fixtures up and running with Northampton sending their fans home happy. They'll be Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree tonight with their first win in five matches.

But for Sale, they'll be a bit Lonely this Christmas as their losing run, which stretches back to 11 November, now stands at seven matches.

Have a read of Tom Garry's match report to reflect on the action. 

Thanks for joining us this evening and remember, we will be back tomorrow with three fixtures on Christmas Eve.

Good night to you all. 

Diamond: I felt we panicked

FT: Northampton 24-5 Sale

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond told BT Sport: 

"Everytime Northampton got into our 22 they took something out of it

"But I felt we panicked. It is a difficult place to come and I am a bit disappointed.

"I have no doubt that Denny Solomona will be a star, we just need to get him the ball."

Disappointment for Solomona

FT: Northampton 24-5 Sale

Despite Denny Solomona scoring the try of the night on his Premiership debut, he ends on the losing side,

But Sale supporters will be buoyed by his contribution and they'll hope he will be the spark that can lift them up the table.  

Denny Solomona
Rex Features

Coming up this weekend

FT: Northampton 24-5 Sale

The festive Premiership action continues on Saturday afternoon, with leaders Saracens hosting Newcastle from 13:30 GMT.

Then high-flying Wasps and Bath meet at the Ricoh Arena from 14:00, before Exeter Chiefs welcome Leicester Tigers to Sandy Park for a 15:00 kick-off.

You can follow live text and radio coverage of all three games right here, on the BBC Sport website and mobile app., throughout the afternoon.

And the same applies for Boxing Day's key clash down at the bottom of the table, when winless Bristol host Worcester from 15:00.

Wood: We owed fans a performance

Northampton 24-5 Sale

Northampton's Tom Wood told BT Sport: 

"The most frustrating thing over recent weeks is we've known we can do better.

"We owed everyone a performance tonight, the fans, everyone at the club and ourselves.

"Thankfully we put it out on the pitch tonight."

Full-time

FT: Northampton 24-5 Sale

The Saints end their four-game losing streak and move up to sixth in the Premiership table, but the misery continues for Sale who have now lost seven in a row. 

Try (Burrell, con Myler)

Northampton 24-5 Sale

The Saints do have three tries at Franklin's Gardens for the first time this season as Luther Burrell goes over with the last play of the game. 

He bulldozes his way over right next to the posts and Myler takes his personal tally to nine points for the evening with the conversion.

Northampton 17-5 Sale

The Saints are yet to score three tries at Franklin's Gardens this season and they may have to settle for two here. 

Sale are in possession in the closing stages but not really hurting Northampton. Saints are going to end their four-game losing streak here. 

Northampton 17-5 Sale

The hosts have hustled all night and they turn over possession just when Sale were setting up for a drive. Now Northampton build up towards the 22 and you suspect if they score here, it's all over. 

Try (Solomona)

Northampton 17-5 Sale

Denny Solomona
Rex Features

What a try from Denny Solomona on his Premiership debut. He somehow jinxes into the right corner and manages to get his foot in the air and go over with room running out. 

He scored 40 tries in the Super League season in 2016 and he's up and running in the Premiership. It was acrobatic and superb - what a way to start.

Alan MacGinty puts the conversion across the posts, so it's only five points for Sale. 

Northampton 17-0 Sale

Sale have men over on the left-hand side but they make a mess of it again. The ball is like a hot potato for the visitors today.

A routine pass sees the ball go through Josh Charnley's hands and they miss a golden opportunity to close the gap. 

Penalty (Myler)

Northampton 17-0 Sale

No such problems for Stephen Myler this time as Sale concede a penalty for not rolling away and Northampton's lead is 17 points.

Remarkably, Sale have had 70% of the ball in the last 20 minutes and the Saints just 30%, but it seems there's only going to be one winner in this one. 

Disallowed try

Northampton 14-0 Sale

Nic Groom
Getty Images

Nic Groom is denied for the second time tonight as the TMO rules out his effort under the post. He let the ball out his hands at the vital moment and Sale breath a sigh of relief. 

Missed penalty

Northampton 14-0 Sale

Stephen Myler, with a bandage around his head, misses a kick at Franklin's Gardens for the first time in three months.

And he doesn't look a happy man. It appeared he wanted to kick for touch until the message came onto the field that he should take the penalty attempt. 

Northampton 14-0 Sale

Ten minutes of solid Sale pressure leads to nothing. It's a turnover again and Northampton clear their lines and then win the penalty. Yet another missed opportunity for the visitors. 

Sale back to 15 men

Northampton 14-0 Sale

Mike Phillips comes back on for Sale after his yellow card and the visitors are back to full strength and still within metres of the try-line. 

Northampton 14-0 Sale

Sale, down to 14 men, start the second half on the front foot and they are now within touching distance of the try-line. Can they finally get on the board? 

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John McEnerney on Twitter: Being in the spotlight for the wrong reasons makes you knuckle down & get back to doing what you do best, Saints doing it!

A win certainly would be very welcome for Saints, who have had a tough few weeks, on and off the field.

Second half under way

Northampton 14-0 Sale

We are back under way at Franklin's Gardens in the second half. The good news for Northampton is Stephen Myler has returned to the field after his blood injury. 

Give us a smile

Northampton 14-0 Sale

Jim Mallinder
Getty Images

He doesn't look happy but Jim Mallinder's side should be making him smile. The Saints have kept their opponents scoreless at the break for the first time this season. 

Mariah Carey is blasting out at half-time at Franklin's Gardens. All Sale want for Christmas is a decent second-half fightback. 

A losing run will end tonight...

Northampton 14-0 Sale

Both these sides are in terrible form at the moment. Northampton have lost their last four, while Sale are faring even worse with six straight defeats.

At the moment it looks like the Saints will snap their four-game losing streak, but there's still 40 minutes to go and Sale did show signs that they are still in this in the closing stages of the first half. 

Guscott's grades

Premiership rugby half-term report

Report Card
Rex Features

This weekend the Premiership enters the halfway stage of the 2016-17 campaign, but who is top of the class and who needs to stay behind for extra tuition?

Former England centre and BBC Sport pundit Jeremy Guscott gives his half-term report on how each of the 12 clubs have fared so far.

Read the full piece here to find out which sides have earned an A.

Premiership half-term report: Jeremy Guscott rates title contenders

Christmas day off?

While Northampton and Sale's players may be looking forward to putting their feet up at some stage over the next two days after tonight's tough workout, not all sports stars around the world enjoy Christmas Day off, as BBC Sport explores...

Christmas day off? Not for these sports

Half-time

Northampton 14-0 Sale

The Saints go to the break with a 14-point lead and it's fully deserved. They scored two tries in the first 30 minutes and had another one disallowed for a forward pass.

Sale barely had a look-in during those opening exchanges, but they really should have some points on the board as the half went on, just individual errors at crucial moments have cost them so far. 

Sin-bin (Phillips)

Northampton 14-0 Sale

Yellow card
Rex Features

Mike Phillips is sin-binned for a neck role on Alex Waller and Sale are now down to 14 men. 

Northampton 14-0 Sale

Sale are getting closer but they are just letting themselves down at the final hurdle at the moment. Alan MacGinty drops the ball and the chance goes begging. 

Northampton 14-0 Sale

Nafi Tuitavake is on as a replacement for his Premiership debut for the Saints, as Stephen Myler has to go off for a blood injury to the head. 

Northampton 14-0 Sale

This is Sale's best spell of pressure. Denny Solomona, on his Premiership debut, tries to find a way through on the right wing, but Northampton's defence is immense at the moment. 

Try (Wood, con Myler)

Northampton 14-0 Sale

A great try for the Saints from the line-out. A great off-load from Alex Waller sees Tom Wood scamper over for Northampton's second try. And what do you know it, Myler is spot-on with the conversion and Saints now have a healthy lead. 

Northampton 7-0 Sale

Sale have finally made some headway and for the first time they have possession in the 22. It's their first opportunity to get some points on the board, but Saints hold firm and get possession back after a collapsed maul.

Northampton 7-0 Sale

Saints v Sale
Rex Features

Two poor kicks from Mike Phillips have put the visitors under pressure and Northampton are now back in possession and look to remain in the box seat. The home side supporters will be very pleased with the start they have seen from their side. 

Northampton 7-0 Sale

After an explosive start from the hosts, Sale have held their own in the past five minutes but have yet to really threaten. 

Denny Solomona was close to getting away on the right-hand side although Northampton, who have lost their past four matches, are still on top. 

World Rugby ask RFU for North details

Breaking news
BBC Sport

Meanwhile, tonight World Rugby have said they want more information from the Rugby Football Union about Northampton's "apparent non-compliance" with concussion protocols relating to George North's latest head injury.

The Northampton wing should not have returned to the field of play after a mid-air tackle on 3 December, a recent RFU concussion review panel found.

You can read more on that developing story here.

No try

Northampton 7-0 Sale

Northampton think they have their second try with Nic Groom going over, but this one is ruled out for a forward pass

Try (Foden, con Myler)

Northampton 7-0 Sale

Ben Foden (left)
Rex Features

Ben Foden goes over in the right-hand corner after a great free-flowing Saints move, with Louis Picamoles starting the play off by driving the maul. 

Stephen Myler as accurate as ever from the tee. That's his 18th successive successful penalty at Franklin's Gardens. 

Northampton 0-0 Sale

The Saints have had plenty of momentum in the first three minutes. No opportunity for them to cross the try-line as yet, but they have had all the pressure. 

Kick-off

Northampton 0-0 Sale

Northampton get us under way and it's game on

Teams are out

Northampton v Sale (19:45 GMT)

The teams are out now at a mild Franklin's Gardens. Storm Barbara caused a little bit of havoc a couple of hours before kick-off with a torrential downpour, but conditions are fine now and we're all set. 

Alex Waller led out the Saints on his 200th appearance. 

Who will be Ding Dong Merrily on High come the final whistle? Will Sale be Driving Home for Christmas disappointed? All that both teams want for Christmas is the victory. It won't be a Silent Night at Franklin's Gardens that's for sure. 

Round 11 of the Premiership is about to get under way...

Get Involved

#bbcrugby

We would love to hear your thoughts as all the action happens this evening.

Both sides go into the game on the back of defeats and are not exactly in form at the moment. 

The Saints were hammered 60-13 by Leinster in the Champions Cup at the weekend, while Sale lost 24-10 at Saracens.

What are your thoughts on your team's season so far? At half-time, we'll bring you the thoughts of former England centre and BBC Sport pundit Jeremy Guscott.

Get in touch via Twitter using #bbcrugby

Listen live on BBC radio

Northampton v Sale (19:45 GMT)

As well as following this live text service, you can also listen to live audio commentary of tonight's match on your radio and online.

BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra's commentary can be found be clicking on the audio icon above.

Similarly, you can listen to BBC Radio Northampton by selecting your choice of commentary at the top of this page.