Exeter defeat Sale with first-half rally
Last Updated: 03/12/16 9:24pm
Exeter Chiefs rose to fourth place in the Aviva Premiership with a highly impressive 21-3 victory over Sale at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Rob Baxter's side were up at the break after a penalty try and further scores from winger James Short and scrum-half Will Chudley put them in control.
It was no less than Exeter deserved for a dominant first-half display in which Sale barely ventured into their visitors' 22.
However, the Chiefs failed to clinch a fourth try and subsequent bonus point during a scoreless second half, while Sale, who were boosted by the return of hooker Rob Webber, slipped to a fourth straight defeat in all competitions.
Exeter opened the scoring after just eight minutes, a dominant Chiefs rolling maul being awarded with a penalty try by referee Wayne Barnes. Aided by back-to-back penalties, the visitors created the field position to set up a driving maul from a line-out on the right flank, which resulted in Wayne Barnes awarding a penalty try. Josh Beaumont was shown yellow for his role in bringing the drive to ground illegally just inches away from the line.
Sale were able to get their tally up and running three minutes later, MacGinty converting the penalty as the Chiefs failed to roll away.
As Beaumont returned to the field, the Chiefs struck again, Short dotting down after another well-set driving maul, Gareth Steenson adding the extras from the touchline.
After 34 minutes and a break from Sam Hill in midfield, the Chiefs crossed of their third of the match. The Exeter centre sliced through a hole in the Sharks defence before releasing scrum-half Chudley who raced over unopposed.
Steenson added the conversion sending the visitors into the break with a comfortable 21-3 lead.
Sale's cause was dealt a further blow in the 50th minute when Ben Curry was forced off with an injury.
The match became a scrappy affair as chances grew scarce but rugby league convert Josh Charnley went close in the left corner with 16 minutes remaining before being hauled into touch.
Sale's second-half display saw a marked improvement from the first and Exeter replacement Michele Campagnaro was sin-binned during a late home rally but the hosts were unable to make their mark as they slipped to a fourth straight defeat.