Premiership: Sale Sharks 36-26 Worcester Warriors

Sale's Sam James
Sam James scored both his tries in the first half against Worcester
Aviva Premiership
Sale Sharks (21) 36
Tries: James 2, Haley, McGuigan, B Curry Cons: MacGinty 4 Pen: MacGinty
Worcester Warriors (14) 26
Tries: Hougaard, Taufete'e, Pennell, Alo Cons: Mills 2, Lamb

Sam James scored two tries as Sale beat a Worcester side that managed to claim a crucial four-try bonus point in the battle to avoid Premiership relegation.

James' brace and Mike Haley's effort just before the break put Sale 21-14 up, with Worcester's tries coming from Francois Hougaard and Joseph Taufete'e.

Second-half Bryon McGuigan and Ben Curry tries ensured victory for Sale.

But scores from Chris Pennell and Biyi Alo were enough to move Warriors 10 points clear of bottom side Bristol.

While Worcester have not won away in the Premiership since beating Harlequins in March 2016, and their defeat in Greater Manchester extends their miserable winless run to eight matches at Sale, the point on their travels was a valuable one.

If Bristol fail to beat second-placed Exeter on Saturday, their relegation could be confirmed against pacesetters Wasps a week later.

Victory for Sale was their first in four games, and they were made to work hard for it. The lead swapped three times in the first half and Sharks then had to play much of the final 15 minutes with 14 men after Halani Aulika and Mike Phillips were sin-binned.

On both occasions, yellow cards were followed by tries, but the efforts of England Under-20 international Curry to score Sale's fifth try, having initially relieved pressure with a smart kick before then stealing the ball to score, put the result beyond doubt.

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond: "We played some good rugby, we finished some good tries.

"I thought Sam James, McGuigan and AJ MacGinty played particularly well in the backs and Bryn Evans controlled the lineout pretty well.

"They obviously worked on us because they knew our wingers were quick and that missed ball beat Denny (Solomona) a couple of times.

"Once we sorted that out, once we got our lazy forwards off the deck and around the rucks then in the second half it was totally different; they struggled to score in those areas when it was 15 on 15."

Worcester's director of rugby Gary Gold: "I'm starting to get a little bit annoyed by the same story over and over again.

"We're scoring tries, we're playing good passages of rugby and asking questions with ball in hand, but we stopped concentrating. The try before half-time was a soft one.

"Mathematically, it's not enough (for us to be safe) and I would never want to say it's enough. Anything can happen and I just don't want us to think that we're comfortable because that will bite us, badly."

Sale: Haley; Solomona, James, Jennings, McGuigan; MacGinty, Phillips; Harrison, Webber, Aulika, Evans, Ostrikov, Neild, T Curry, Beaumont (capt).

Replacements: B Curry, Pope, Longbottom, Nott, Pearce, Mitchell, Bedlow, Charnley.

Sin-bin: Aulika, Phillips

Worcester: Pennell; Humphreys, Willison, Te'o, Adams; Mills, Hougaard; Bower, Taufete'e, Schonert, O'Callaghan (capt), Spencer, Vui, Lewis, Mama.

Replacements: Bregvadze, Grant, Alo, Barry, Potgieter, Baldwin, Lamb, Olivier.

Referee: Matthew Carley

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