Premiership: Sale Sharks 23-24 Bristol

Josh Charnley of Sale Sharks attempt the tackle as Tom Varndell of Bristol
Tom Varndell has scored his Premiership tries playing for Leicester Tigers, Wasps and Bristol
Aviva Premiership
Sale Sharks (15) 23
Tries: Penalty, Solomona, Leota Con: Mitchell Pens: Mitchell 2
Bristol (10) 24
Tries: Varndell, Williams, Crumpton Cons: Woodward 3 Pen: Woodward

Tom Varndell became the Premiership's joint top try scorer of all time to help bottom side Bristol overcome Sale for a second straight league win.

Varndell equalled Mark Cueto's record of 90 tries to edge Bristol back into the contest at half-time, after a penalty try and a Denny Solomona score helped put Sale 15-10 up at the break.

A James Mitchell penalty and Johnny Leota's try extended Sale's lead.

However, tries from Rhodri Williams and Max Crumpton won it for Bristol.

Crumpton's effort to seal Bristol's first away win since earning promotion back to the Premiership in May came moments after Rob Webber's sin-binning as Sale finished the match with 14 men.

A penalty-riddled start from Bristol allowed Sale to take early control with a penalty try quickly following Ryan Bevington's sin-binning.

Solomona, a try-scoring record breaker in Super League before controversially switching rugby codes last month, grabbed his second try in as many Premiership matches to compound Bristol's woes while down a man, getting on the end of a neat chip kick from Mike Haley.

James Woodward converted Varndell's milestone try after kicking a penalty to boost Bristol's hopes after being 15-0 down.

Leota's score again saw Sale go 13 points up after 55 minutes, but Mitchell's missed conversion proved costly as Varndell set Williams up before Crumpton went over.

Woodward converted both scores to ensure back-to-back Premiership wins for Bristol for the first time since March 2008, while Sale lost for the eighth time in succession in all competitions.

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond told BBC Radio Manchester: "I think we have to give credit to Bristol for responding every time we got in front of the game with their never-say-die attitude.

"We didn't control the game well at all, we managed to score and play some good rugby but we didn't have the confidence to back it up.

"There are a lot of good sides in the competition and anyone can beat anyone on the day, as was shown today.

"We should have controlled the game better in the second half and we didn't, and Bristol took their opportunities."

Bristol wing Tom Varndell told BBC Radio Bristol: "It's great to get the win and keep the winning mentality up, that changing room is buzzing.

"I'm definitely confident and enjoying my rugby again, the last six to eight weeks have been good for me.

"Obviously I love scoring tries and it is what I'm in the team to do. To do it at Cueto's home is a bit bad, but oh well."

Sale Sharks: Haley; Solomona, Leota, Tuitupou, Charnley; James, Mitchell; Harrison, Webber, Aulika, Mills, Ostrikov, Neild, Lund, Beaumont (capt).

Replacements: Briggs, Flynn, Longbottom, B Curry, Ioane, Phillips, MacGinty, McGuigan.

Bristol: Woodward; Wallace, Palamo, Hurrell, Varndell; Searle, Cliff; Bevington, Hawkins, Cortes, Tuohy, Glynn, Fenton-Wells, Robinson (capt), Eadie.

Replacements: Crumpton, Traynor, Ford-Robinson, Phillips, Sorenson, Williams, Jarvis, Arscott.

Referee: Ian Tempest

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