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Premiership: Sale Sharks 23-26 Wasps – Paul Deacon loses first Premiership game in charge

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Marland Yarde
Marland Yarde scored twice, including a spectacular opener, but Sale were just outpointed by Wasps
Sale (10) 23
Tries: Yarde 2 Cons: MacGinty 2 Pens: MacGinty 3
Wasps (3) 26
Tries: Atkinson, Cruse Cons: Sopoaga 2 Pens: Sopoaga 4

Wasps handed interim head coach Paul Deacon defeat in his first Premiership game in charge of Sale Sharks.

Marland Yarde’s try out wide, created by Faf de Klerk’s wraparound play, was one of few highlights in a first-half Sale edged 10-3 on the scoreboard.

Charlie Atkinson’s solo break and Tom Cruse’s close-range surge either side of AJ MacGinty’s Sale penalty turned the score-line round for the visitors.

Lima Sopoaga’s boot added to the lead but Yarde’s try made for a nervy close.

The only sour note for Wasps would have been the serious-looking injury to wing Zach Kibirige, who injured himself chasing a hack downfield and had to be withdrawn after a lengthy stoppage.

Likewise, battering-ram back-rower Alfie Barbeary was the catalyst for much of their attacking energy, forcing a turnover and offloading for Cruse’s try, before limping off in the second half with a knee problem.

Both coaches would have bemoaned execution levels, particularly at the line-out where good ball was wasted, but Wasps made the most of premium chances to secure the win at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The departure of Steve Diamond earlier this month marked the end of an era at Sale, and Deacon had suffered two European defeats since taking on the coaching reins.

Former Great Britain and England rugby league international Deacon was as sharp an attacking mind as any in his illustrious career, but there were not enough moments of brilliance despite making a game of it late on.

That said, he would have been proud of the skills which brought about the two tries; notably Tom Curry’s hard line and blind offload timed to the fingertips of South Africa playmaker de Klerk, who released the left-edge attack for Yarde to stampede in to score his opener.

Paul Deacon
Paul Deacon has lost all three of his games in charge of Sale

Sale Sharks: S James; Luke James, R du Preez, Hill, Yarde; MacGinty, de Klerk (capt); Morozov, van der Merwe, Oosthuizen, Postlethwaite, JP du Preez, Wiese, Curry, D du Preez.

Replacements: Langdon, Harrison, John, Phillips, Dugdale, Cliff, Doherty, Roebuck.

Wasps: Sopoaga; Kibirige, Odogwu, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Atkinson, Porter; West, Cruse, Toomaga-Allen, Rowlands, Gaskell, Morris, Young (capt), Barbeary.

Replacements: Taylor, Harris, McIntyre, Douglas, T Willis, Robson, Gopperth, de Jongh.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys.

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