|Sale Sharks (16) 26|
|Tries: McGuigan, Yarde Cons: MacGinty 2 Pens: MacGinty 4|
|Leicester Tigers (3) 10|
|Tries: Penalty Pens: Henry|
AJ MacGinty set up a try and kicked 16 points as Sale held off Leicester for a fifth successive Premiership win.
MacGinty slotted four kicks and teed up Byron McGuigan, who finished tidily, to build a 16-3 half-time lead.
Tigers responded impressively, adding to Zach Henry’s kick with a penalty try when Sale had two men in the sin bin.
But Marlon Yarde’s score after some relentless pressure ensured Sharks moved up to second prior to Exeter’s game against Worcester on Saturday.
Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick made drastic changes from their last match, with 12 players coming in following the win over Ulster last Friday which saw Tigers reach the European Challenge Cup final.
But, despite a spirited second-half effort, a young Tigers side were unable to avoid a fourth defeat in five league matches and a sixth loss in a row against Sale in all competitions.
Tigers could not match the home side’s brute power before the break, with MacGinty punishing a lack of discipline as they struggled to repel the early pressure.
MacGinty’s long kick put them ahead before the fly-half’s delightful pass gave McGuigan enough space to dance over the line.
Another MacGinty penalty brought a 16-0 advantage, which was reduced slightly by Henry’s simple kick.
After another MacGinty penalty Tigers then enjoyed their best spell, going through phase after phase to force Sharks to fall foul of the referee.
A yellow card for Jean-Luc du Preez for persistent fouling was quickly followed by one for a deliberate Luke James knock-on – which brought a penalty try.
Tigers were unable to build on the momentum, however, and Yarde wrapped up victory with a close-range score.
Sale Sharks: L James; McGuigan, S James, Hill, Yarde; MacGinty, De Klerk; Rodd, Van der Merwe, Oosthuizen, Wiese, Beaumont (capt), J-L du Preez, T Curry, D du Preez.
Replacements: Ashman, Harrison, John, Phillips, Nield, Quirke, Wilkinson, Doherty.
Leicester Tigers: Henry; Van Wyk, Moroni, Kelly, Murimurivalu; McPhillips, B Youngs (capt); De Bruin, Clare, Heyes, Henderson, Lavanini, Martin, Brink, Liebenberg.
Replacements: Dolly, Whitcombe, Hurd, Green, Wiese, Van Poortvliet, Williams, Steward.
Referee: Tom Foley.