Premiership: Sale Sharks 26-24 Newcastle Falcons

Vereniki Goneva
Vereniki Goneva had only scored two Premiership tries before his hat-trick
Aviva Premiership
Sale (18) 26
Tries: Solomona, McGuigan, Evans Cons: Addison Pens: Addison 3
Newcastle (12) 24
Tries: Socino, Goneva 3 Cons: Hodgson, Takulua

Sale fought off a second-half fightback from Newcastle, led by Vereniki Goneva's hat-trick, to earn their first Premiership win since October.

With Newcastle leading 24-23 six minutes from time, Will Addison kicked his third penalty to secure victory.

Early tries from Falcons' Juan Pablo Socino and Goneva were cancelled out by Denny Solomona and Byron McGuigan scores as Sale led 18-12 at the break.

Fiji wing Goneva touched down twice again before Addison's winning kick.

Sale, who lost 10 straight games in all competitions from mid-November to mid-January, are now 11 points clear of bottom side Bristol - who they beat in their last league win on 30 October.

Goneva gave Sale a scare after Bryn Evans' try put the hosts 23-12 in front, as he showed all of his outstanding pace to race in from 60 metres before intercepting once again moments later to score in the left corner for his hat-trick.

The Fijian's third and Newcastle's fourth of the night, earned them a bonus point which moved them above Gloucester into eighth in the table.

But the Falcons could not hold on for their seventh Premiership win of the campaign.

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:

"We stuck to our guns, we were always trying to play rugby, we went down the shortside and they got two interceptions, but we're not going to say anything bad about that.

"That's how we want to be playing. The scrum was good all night, it became dominant in the last 15 minutes and we got the penalty to win it.

"We've played well since Christmas if I'm honest. We lost to Bristol in a game we should never have lost and we were hard done by down in Harlequins."

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:

"We struggled to get into their half in the first half, even though we scored a couple of nice tries. In the second half we had a little bit more territory but we probably didn't play as well as we should have done.

"It wasn't just the discipline of giving penalties away at silly times, it's the discipline to get into your own shape, accurately execute things and with that we lacked that discipline to execute."

Sale: Haley; Solomona, James, Jennings, Addison (capt); MacGinty, Phillips; Harrison, Webber, Aulika, Evans, Mills, Neild, Lund, Ioane.

Replacements: B Curry, Flynn, Longbottom, Nott, Seymour, Stringer, Leota, McGuigan.

Newcastle: Tait; Agulla, Harris, Socino, Goneva; Hodgson, Takulua; Vickers, Lawson, Welsh, Green, Robinson, Wilson, Welch (capt), Fonua

Replacements: Cooper, Harris, Wilson, Olmstead, Latu, Egerton, Delany, Waldouck

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