Raffi Quirke stars as Sale stun Leiceer to top Premiership
2022-11-20

The Sharks made it four wins from four by coming back from 16-5 down against the reigning champions at Welford Road

Half-time replacement Raffi Quirke inspired Sale to a memorable victory at Gallagher Premiership champions Leicester that maintained their perfect start to the league season.

With Saracens not in action until Sunday, the Sharks are now top of the table after making it four wins from four games by coming back from 16-5 down at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

It was a superb return from England scrum-half Quirke, who was playing in his first match for six months after a torn hamstring, but another shock to Leicesters system as they suffered a second straight loss.

Freddie Burns opened the scoring for Leicester with a penalty after six minutes after Sales defence, stretched by a good break by Harry Potter, were pinged for offside.

But it was the Sharks who had the games first try in the 11th minute as Tom OFlaherty almost got away before his fellow winger Tom Roebuck slipped through some flimsy tackling to score down the left.

Rob du Preez missed the conversion, giving Burns the chance to kick the Tigers 6-5 ahead with his second penalty after Potter was obstructed when trying to claim a high ball.

Following another successful kick at goal by Burns, as Sales discipline let them down again, Leicester went over for their first score of the afternoon after 29 minutes.

Potter caused problems again down the left, as it took a last-ditch tackle by Manu Tuilagi to stop him, but Jasper Wiese picked up before being helped over in the corner by a gaggle of team-mates.

Sale were quickly back in the picture however, as Gus Warr played the ball off the back of a scrum to Du Preez, who weaved his way through to score before converting to reduce the hosts lead to 16-12.

The game was then turned on its head eight minutes into the second half when Quirke broke through down the right before timing his pass to put Sharks captain Tom Curry in the clear.

The Sharks had their bonus-point try in the 54th minute when Joe Carpenter made a break on the left wing before passing to Quirke, who had a comfortable run in.

It then took a superb tackle by Tigers full-back Freddie Steward to stop OFlaherty getting on the scoresheet as well and just about keep the hosts in the contest.

Having made one try and scored another, Quirke then prevented one at the other end by scampering back to stop Matt Scott in his tracks inches from the try line after the ball ran loose.

Du Preez then missed the chance to extend Sales lead further by pushing a penalty wide, but by then time was running out for Leicester to mount a comeback.

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