Premiership: Sale Sharks 32-9 Bath
|Sale: (6) 32|
|Tries: Strauss, McGuigan, O'Connor, Cliff Cons: MacGinty 3 Pens: MacGinty 2|
|Pens: Priestland 3|
An excellent second-half showing by Sale dented Bath's top-four ambitions.
Three Rhys Priestland penalties against two from AJ MacGinty gave Bath a 9-6 lead at the end of a drab first half.
The Sharks tore into Bath after the break with Josh Strauss going over from close range soon after the restart and Byron McGuigan increasing the lead.
James O'Connor ended an intricate passing move to score the home side's third try before Will Cliff went over to secure a bonus-point victory.
The defeat for Bath, coupled with Wasps' bonus-point win over Gloucester, sees them drop out of the play-off places, while Sale moved up to eighth.
Bath twice went over the Sale tryline in the space of a minute late in the first half, but first Freddie Burns then Matt Banahan were held up by a dogged Sale defence.
And they were left to rue those missed chances as the Sharks lit up the second period at a foggy AJ Bell Stadium.
Strauss' try was confirmed after a television review and Scotland's McGuigan took advantage of an excellent O'Connor pass to increase the lead.
The former Wallaby went from provider to scorer 13 minutes later and Cliff secured the bonus point. the replacement reacting brightly to touch down a MacGinty high kick which fell kindly.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:
"With that bonus point we've got exactly the number of points I thought we would have at this stage and we've got to have a good second half of the season to push for that top six, top four.
"We've got fantastic players, we've got a squad unlike we've ever had before where Marland Yarde, [Josh] Beaumont and Will Addison, who are coming back from injury, probably wouldn't get on the bench at this moment in time."
"It's difficult for teams to come and beat us if I'm honest, but a lot of the credit for the second-half performance isn't to me and the coaches - it's to the players."
Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder:
"Sale played really well, they played over the top of us, they were direct, they were magnificent.
"I thought Sale were superb in the second half. They hit all the right pressure points, they were aggressive at the breakdown and they deserved their win.
"We didn't build any pressure at all and, when Sale were down in our half, we just melted penalty after penalty after penalty. The breakdown was a key focus for us, as well as discipline, and we just coughed up in those two areas."
Sale: O'Connor; Solomona, James, Rensburg, McGuigan; MacGinty, De Klerk; Harrison, Webber, John, Evans, Ostrikov, Ross,. Curry, Strauss.
Replacements: Jones, Flynn, Aulika, Nott, Neild, Cliff, Haley, Charnley.
Bath: Watson; Wilson, Banahan, Priestland, Brew; Burns, Fotuali'i; Noguera, Van Vuuren, Thomas; Ewels, Stooke, Garvey (c), Louw, Grant.
Replacements: Charles, Auterac, Lahiff, Phillips, Mercer, Douglas, Cook, Wilson.