Sale 27-19 Newcastle
Nick Macleod kicked 17 points as Sale heaped more misery on bottom club Newcastle in a 27-19 victory at a packed Edgeley Park.
The Sharks got off to a lightning fast start when winger Tom Brady embarked on a mazy run from inside his own half and showed excellent pace before applying the finish to put his team 5-0 ahead after just five minutes. Fly-half Nick Macleod added the conversion and three penalties before Jimmy Gopperth registered the Falcons' first three points on the half hour mark. It did not take long for Macleod to restore Sale's 16-point advantage with his fourth penalty of the day but Newcastle were in no mood to roll over and hand out a Boxing Day present to their opponents. The Premiership's bottom side fought back and scored a try of their own late in the first half when New Zealander Jeremy Manning, an early replacement for centre Corne Uys, crossed after a good attack down the left wing. Gopperth converted the try and added two penalties early in the second half to pull the Falcons to within three points of their hosts at 19-16. This seemed to spark the Sharks into action though and just a few minutes later, Mark Cueto celebrated his 32nd birthday in style as he surged down the left wing to score in the corner and extend Sale's lead to 24-16. Gopperth and Macleod then exchanged penalties as the momentum swung back and forth but it was the home side that looked more likely to add to their lead and they held on to win 27-19, much to the delight of over 9,000 vocal fans at Edgeley Park.