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Premiership: Sale 41-5 Exeter - Tom Roebuck hat-trick seals key Sharks victory

Tom Roebuck
Tom Roebuck has scored five tries in his last three matches for Sale [Getty Images]

Sale v Exeter

Sale: (22) 41

Tries: Roebuck 3, Cowan-Dickie, Warr, Quirke Cons: Ford 4 Pens: Ford

Exeter: (0) 5

Tries: Feyi-Waboso

Tom Roebuck scored a hat-trick as Sale beat Exeter 41-5 to move back into the Premiership play-off mix.

Roebuck's early try helped Sale - who had not won a game since 22 December - to an impressive bonus-point win over an undisciplined Chiefs.

He scored a second a minute after half time, dropped the ball as he went to dot down a third before getting his hat-trick after an hour.

Sale ran-in six tries as they closed the gap to the top four.

The Sharks remain in eighth place in the Premiership, but are now only five points off the play-off places while Exeter remain fifth, two points off a top four spot with four rounds of matches to play.

Sale saw influential flanker Ernst van Rhyn limp off in the ninth minute with a leg injury, but his replacement Sam Dugdale played a major part in his side's opener a minute later.

The forward burst through from a line-out to set up field position which Roebuck skipped in from moments later before a George Ford penalty further extended the lead.

Exeter gave away seven penalties in the first 30 minutes and were punished for their indiscipline when former Exeter stalwart Luke Cowan-Dickie was mauled over from a 10-metre line-out.

The try came after Ford had kicked to touch when Immanuel Feyi-Waboso had barged another ex-Chief Tom O'Flaherty as he challenged for a high ball.

Exeter full-back Josh Hodge was harshly sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on five minutes before the break with Exeter unhappy having seen Manu Tuilagi get away with a similar offence 30 minutes earlier.

Sale found a hole in the short-handed Chiefs right at the end of the half as Warr sneaked in following a quick five-pass move.

Roebuck gathered in a high kick and raced in a minute after the restart for the bonus point before Feyi-Waboso got his sixth Premiership try of the season after a nice passing move to give the travelling fans something to cheer as they struggled throughout against a stern home defence.

But Raffi Quirke's quickly-taken tap penalty resulted in a fifth try before Roebuck coughed up a chance for a third as Josh Beaumont's wonderful kick set the winger free, but he lost control of the ball as he went to dive over in the right corner.

However Roebuck only had to wait a minute to get his hat-trick as Asher Opoku-Fordjour's break put Sale in a good area and Rob du Preez set up Roebuck, who remains uncapped for England despite being called up to Steve Borthwick's squad ahead of the Six Nations.

Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson told BBC Radio 5 Live:

"I'll take that on the back of all the effort and energy that we showed.

"There's been a bit of defence being optional, I would say, in the Premiership over the last two weeks and we wanted to get back to recognising what our DNA was as a team and defence is part of that, and that was exceptional today as well, let alone six tries that we did score.

"Everyone was well aware that it was do or die or the proverbial or bust - we had to find form and this was the week to find it, so we did. Now it's about keeping hold of it, bottling it, maintaining the momentum.

"Not just as you go into the semi-final and final, but obviously over the next four games and this is going to separate the wheat from the chaff in the Premiership this year, because any team who's going to win it has to maintain form for the next 10 weeks. That's tough."

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:

"If we look at ourselves we never really imposed any kind of a game plan on them.

"The first half was one of the most disappointing I've probably watched from this group because I know we're better than that.

"But we couldn't impose ourselves or our gameplan on the game at all.

"We weren't where we quite needed to be physically, gain line first half was tough for us, but actually our individual discipline was probably the thing that bothered me the most because there's some silly penalties in there."

Sale: Carpenter; Roebuck, R du Preez, Tuilagi, O'Flaherty; Ford, Warr; Rodd, Cowan-Dickie, Harper, Wiese, Beaumont, Van Rhyn, B Curry (capt), J-L du Preez.

Replacements: Taylor, Harrison, Opoku-Fordjour, Bamber, Andrews, Dugdale, Quirke, James.

Exeter: Hodge; Feyi-Waboso, Slade, Rigg, Woodburn; Skinner, Townsend; Sio, Yeandle, Painter, Jenkins (capt), Tshiunza, Vintcent, Capstick, Fisilau.

Replacements: Frost, Southworth, Street, Pearson, Dunne, Cairns, Haydon-Wood, Wimbush

Sin-bin: Josh Hodge (35)

Referee: Hamish Smales