Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Tom Roebuck stars with hat-trick in Sale’s six-try demolition of Exeter
Rugby union Sport

Tom Roebuck stars with hat-trick in Sale’s six-try demolition of Exeter

Sale were long overdue a result after a run of six consecutive defeats ­stretching back to before Christmas, but this remarkable six-try victory was sweet beyond their fondest imaginings.

The Sharks’ teamwork was matchless and their conviction unshakeable as they reduced Exeter to rubble on the outskirts of Salford. The homegrown wing Tom Roebuck scored a superb hat-trick to press his claims for a maiden England cap but this was very much about the collective.

With George Ford’s educated boot guiding them around the park on a windswept afternoon, Sale were dominant in every department.

After Roebuck opened the scoring, the hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and the scrum-half Gus Warr also touched down to make it 22-0 at the break.

The bonus point arrived imme­diately after the interval when Roebuck claimed his second and, after Raffi Quirke added a fifth home try, the wing struck again to complete his treble, having spurned an earlier chance.

Roebuck, a product of Sale’s aca­demy, was in the England squad during the Six Nations but did not play, with ­Immanuel Feyi-Waboso – who scored Exeter’s only try here – picked ahead of him. But this was Roebuck’s day and the 23-year-old said of his time in the Red Rose camp: “I’d say it’s made a better player by a mile because you’re ­obviously ­working with the best ­players and best coaches in the country.

“It was ­pro­bably a bit ­disappointing that I didn’t get to play a game, but that’s not in my control. I need to play as well as I can and wait for the opportunities to come.”

His reward for reigniting Sale’s playoff aspirations? “I have a deal with Tom that, if he scores a hat‑trick, then I owe him a brand new pair of Nike Air Max,” the ­director of rugby, Alex ­Sanderson, said. “But I don’t mind being £200 worse off – it’s a small price to pay.

“England were very clear about the areas where Tom needed to improve. But he was buoyed and motivated to come back and make those ­improvements. He showed that today.”

Sale, losing Premiership ­finalists last season, had not won since ­defeating Saracens at home on 22 December, but this was a ­performance to savour. They led when some deft handling from Manu Tuilagi, the outstanding Ben Curry and Ford close to the line combined to send Roebuck scampering through a gap inside the left channel.

skip past newsletter promotion

Sale’s willingness to throw the ball about was pleasing on the eye and, after Cowan-Dickie went over, they grabbed a third try on the stroke of half‑time when the prop Bevan Rodd found Warr with a fine inside pass and the scrum-half did the rest. ­

Immediately after the interval, ­Roebuck had his second, dashing on to Warr’s clever chip and racing over in the right corner for a bonus-point try.

Exeter finally woke up in the 49th minute when Feyi-Waboso collected possession and crashed through Sale’s defence unstoppably in the right corner. But Sale held the upper hand and scored again soon after when Quirke darted over from close range shortly after replacing Warr.

In the 57th minute Roebuck should have had his hat-trick when he hacked the ball forward but failed to ground the ball. No matter. Two ­minutes later, his hat-trick score came when in another superb move the ball was worked out to the left channel where Roebuck arrived on cue again to saunter clear.

Exeter must now prepare for a Champions Cup last-16 clash with Bath on Saturday and Rob Baxter said: “Sometimes you just have to take your hidings and move on. Today doesn’t cause us any ­damage, as long as we learn from it.”

Source: theguardian.com