Premiership: Exeter Chiefs 30-25 Sale Sharks

Kai Horstmann
Exeter remain second in the Premiership table, only behind leaders Wasps because they have won fewer games
Aviva Premiership
Exeter Chiefs (12) 30
Tries: Horstmann, Cowan-Dickie, Woodburn, Armand Pens: Slade 2 Cons: Slade 2
Sale Sharks (19) 25
Try: Solomona Con: MacGinty Pens: MacGinty 6

Exeter came from 14 points down to beat Sale Sharks at Sandy Park and boost their hopes of securing a home semi-final in the Premiership play-offs.

AJ MacGinty landed four penalties and cross-code star Denny Solomona traded scores with Kai Horstmann to leave the visitors 19-5 ahead after 34 minutes.

But Luke Cowan-Dickie's try just before the break kept the Chiefs in touch.

Olly Woodburn and Don Armand crossed after half-time to earn a bonus point and keep Exeter second in the table.

Rob Baxter's side are now level on points with leaders Wasps, who play Worcester Warriors on Sunday, while reigning champions Saracens in third host fifth-placed Bath.

Exeter's victory over Sale Sharks, however, was far from straightforward in blustery conditions in Devon.

Playing with their wind at their backs in the first half, the Sharks were good value for their lead, with MacGinty reliable from the tee and wing Solomona's ninth try in eight Premiership games putting them ahead.

But Exeter, who had England wing Jack Nowell back from Six Nations duty, scored two tries during the first 40 minutes to keep them in contention.

And, with conditions on their side after half-time, they managed two further scores to wrap up a bonus-point victory and ensure they bounced back from last week's Anglo-Welsh Cup final defeat by Leicester Tigers.

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter: "I can't be happy at us playing at that level and we need to shake ourselves up for the remainder the season.

"We were disrupted in the first half and threw careless passes, which made it difficult for ourselves - and had we not scored just before interval the mountain may have been too high to climb.

"This was a real wake-up call for us as Sale have worried us in the past and we weren't ready for them."

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond: "I'm disappointed we didn't win the game but I'm satisfied with the bonus point as we had a blip against Northampton in our last league game, when we didn't turn up.

"Exeter are a good side and the try we conceded just before half-time was probably crucial, but we made a couple of basic errors at vital times.

"I'm pleased we stopped them playing, as they thought they could just kick to the corners and score but our line-out defence was very good and I'm happy that we had them thinking outside the box."

Exeter: Dollman; Nowell, Whitten, Devoto, Woodburn; Slade, Townsend; Moon, Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Lees, Parling, Horstmann, Armand (capt), Waldrom.

Replacements: Yeandle, Rimmer, Francis, J Hill, S Simmonds, Maunder, J Simmonds, Short.

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

Replacements: B Curry, Flynn, Longbottom, Nott, Pearce, Stringer, Bedlow, Charnley.

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