Sale inflicted fresh Premiership misery on Wasps by thrashing the English champions 31-3 in Friday’s Boxing Day clash at Edgeley Park.
Sale captain and Argentina back-row Juan Fernandez Lobbe scored two of Sale’s four tries as the northwest side moved up into second-place although, with the rest of the division playing after press time yesterday, they may not be there long.
England internationals Mark Cueto and Charlie Hodgson scored Sale’s other tries with Wasps, now a lowly ninth in the 12-team league, managing a solitary Dave Walder penalty in reply.
Sale director of rugby Phillipe Saint-Andre was pleased by the way in which his side responded to the disappointment of last week’s last-gasp loss to title rivals Bath.
“I’m pleased after the disappointment of the robbery of last week,” he said. “We tried to be consistent, we tried a lot of things, we showed a lot of confidence, we took some risks.
“We tried to play rugby in front of a good crowd and scored four tries. I don’t think a lot of teams in the Premiership can do this with the flair that we can,” said the former France captain, who is leaving Sale at the end of the season. “We’re in good form and shape, we look fit and confident, and have a fantastic spirit in the camp. We’ve got good focus and I’ve seen my team get better every week for five weeks.”
Wasps coach Shaun Edwards had no difficulty in admitting his side had been second best.
“It was quite evident we were outplayed in every department by the form team in the Premiership,” he said.
“The second try was a big turning point in the game, if you go 14 points behind there is no way back,” said Edwards, who also doubles up as Six Nations champions Wales’s defense coach.
“We’ve got a full week’s training, plenty of time to rest and lick our wounds. We’ll be ready for the next game,” said Edwards, who is set to be a member of Wasps boss Ian McGeechan’s backroom staff on next year’s British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.
Sale looked the sharper team from the kickoff and it was not long before Dean Schofield, looping round, drew the cover and passed to Neil Briggs who in turn found Fernandez Lobbe for the opening try.
An error by Wasps academy replacement Chris Bishay, who deliberately failed to field a ball heading to touch, allowed David Doherty to deliver a try-scoring pass to Cueto. Walder then got Wasps on the scoreboard but that was as good as it got for the Londoners, with former England scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth brushing off Joe Worsley to find Test colleague Hodgson.
Fly-half Hodgson added a penalty before Fernandez Lobbe stung Wasps by running in a quick tap penalty for Sale’s fourth try.