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Bath power to bonus-point victory over Sale

Bath moved into second place on their return to Gallagher Premiership action with a 42-24 victory over Sale.

Joe Cokanasiga scored two of Bath’s five tries and Finn Russell’s boot accounted for 17 points from four conversions, two penalties and a left-footed drop goal.

Sale, trying to halt a run of six successive defeats in all competitions since Christmas, were level at 24-24 on the hour but faded in the last quarter.

Sale Sharks' George Ford attempts to tackle Bath's Finn Russell
Image: Sale Sharks’ George Ford attempts to tackle Bath’s Finn Russell

Bath looked threatening from the off and took the lead through Matt Gallagher after just four minutes as Cameron Redpath latched on to an offload from Cokanasiga to send his full-back away, with Russell converting from wide out.

Sale’s Rob Du Preez was twice involved in the probing attacks that led to an 18th-minute try for centre partner Manu Tuilagi, who left both Russell and Cokanasiga sprawling before ambling over the line.

The Bath pair made amends five minutes later though, starting and finishing a neat sequence which saw Russell dummying through the Sale defensive line, finding support from Tom Dunn and Redpath, who offloaded to Cokanasiga for a converted try.

Sale could not believe their luck just three minutes into the second half when a wayward pass landed in Tom Roebuck’s hands, leaving the right wing with a run-in to the corner.

Bath's Ted Hill runs into Sale Sharks' Gus Warr
Image: Bath’s Ted Hill runs into Sale Sharks’ Gus Warr

Bath responded with another try for Cokanasiga, galloping on to an inside pass from Ted Hill and Russell’s conversion put Bath 24-17 ahead after 52 minutes, only to lose Ollie Lawrence to the sin-bin for head contact with Rob du Preez.

Sale immediately took advantage with a walk-in at the corner by flanker Sam Dugdale, also converted by Ford.

Russell maintained his 100 per cent kicking record with a penalty under the posts and then with a wobbly drop goal with his less-favoured left foot to ease Bath into a 30-24 lead.

A catch-and-drive try awarded to Dunn earned the try bonus point after 70 minutes and Lawrence then added another, this time unconverted, as strong-finishing Bath wrapped up the win.

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