Sale Sharks player ratings: George Ford shines against former club to book Premiership final trip
Following their 21-13 Premiership semi-final victory over Leicester Tigers at the AJ Bell Stadium, here is how we rated the Sale Sharks players.
15 Joe Carpenter: Solid under the high ball and proved a threatening option in attack early on, providing an excellent pass for Tom Roebuck’s try on 20 minutes. Another decent outing in what has been a brilliant campaign. 7
14 Tom Roebuck: Sale’s standout player in the first half as he made decent inroads and finished off his try nicely. Also contested well in the air as he caused Leicester problems in that department. 8
13 Rob du Preez: Played with a swagger and was a handy extra playmaking option once again, his interchanging with George Ford keeping Leicester Tigers guessing. Grew more and more into the game in the first half but wasn’t quite as effective in the second. 7
12 Manu Tuilagi: Clearly enjoyed himself with a smile on his face in a physical contest. Ran plenty of smart lines as he got Sale on the front foot and defensively he put himself about in a strong overall performance. Surprisingly withdrawn from the action on 55 minutes. 7
11 Arron Reed: An early foray down the left wing was as much action as Reed got in the first half. Otherwise didn’t get much joy against the dangerous Anthony Watson opposite him until he collected a Ford pass off his bootlaces to score a key try late on. Will rue his forward pass to Raffi Quirke that saw the scrum-half’s try chalked off soon after. 7
Ford drives Sale to the final
10 George Ford: That was a special performance against his former club. Gave a lovely delayed pass to Roebuck as Sale went close early on and then nailed a sidelined conversion of the same player’s try soon after. Two long-range penalties would follow as he marshalled this game superbly. Looks in excellent nick right now. 9
9 Gus Warr: A solid if not spectacular performance from the in-form Warr. Neat and tidy enough behind his forwards before he was replaced by Raffi Quirke with 51 minutes on the clock. 6
8 Jono Ross: His opposite number Jasper Wiese won the battle of the eights as Ross struggled to make a significant impact over the gainline, despite an impressive 15 carries. He only made two metres from those, however, while putting in eight tackles in defence. 6
7 Ben Curry: Unfortunately had his afternoon curtailed whilst winning a turnover at the breakdown alongside his brother. He was stretchered off and one hopes it’s not a serious injury for the England flanker, especially with a Rugby World Cup not too far away. N/A.
6 Tom Curry: Found the going somewhat tough against the formidable Wiese, who slipped his grasp on a couple of occasions. But, as always, never took a backward step with eight carries and 15 tackles to his name. 6
5 Jonny Hill: Sale’s go-to lineout option with a whopping nine in the bank, seven more than their next best. Defensively too he put himself about with a team high 17 tackles. 7
4 Jean-Luc du Preez: Not overly prominent with ball in hand as Sale in general met their match in terms of physicality against this Leicester pack. Still a decent offering though on both sides of the ball. 6
3 Nick Schonert: A solid enough 46 minutes before Alex Sanderson went for his powerful prop replacements on 46 minutes. 5
2 Akker van der Merwe: Went agonisingly close to scoring but a knock-on with the try-line within reach denied the South African hooker. Perhaps made the wrong decision at the tail of mauls when chances were on but was a nuggety ball of energy once again. 6
1 Simon McIntyre: Enjoyed a strong start to the game with a nice pass putting a team-mate over the gainline while he won scrum penalty soon after. Seven tackles too in a workmanlike showing. 6
Replacements: Dan du Preez came on early for Ben Curry but then also left the action late on clutching a shoulder which will concern Sanderson. Quirke was busy while Coenie Oosthuizen and Bevan Rodd once again showed their worth. 7
READ MORE: Premiership: George Ford boots Sale Sharks past Leicester Tigers to final
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