Faf de Klerk inspired Sale to a 24-18 victory at Wasps to emphatically bounce back from their mauling at Northampton in the Gallagher Premiership.
The South African scrum-half was instrumental in all three of his side’s tries and kicked seven points during the Sharks’ win at the Ricoh Arena.
Quick-thinking from De Klerk paved the way for the game’s opening points when he tapped a close-range scrum penalty and former Wasp Rob Webber was on hand to power over for a 10th minute try.
The South African was key to Sale’s second try when he intercepted metres from his own line and kicked deep into the Wasps 22.
Sharks turned the screw and England winger Denny Solomona scooped a pass from around his ankles to crash through Willie le Roux’s tackle for a try De Klerk converted tight to the right touchline with 22 minutes played.
Wasps landed eight points before the break when captain Ashley Johnson completed a rolling maul from a close-range lineout. Lima Sopoaga missed the conversion but added a penalty shortly afterwards to cut the deficit to six points.
On the stroke of half-time de Klerk landed his third successful kick of the afternoon to give the visitors a 17-8 lead.
His fellow Springbok Le Roux dived between the posts shortly after the restart but the TMO ruled an earlier pass from Ashley Johnson was forward.
But there was no stopping Wasps’ Joe Simpson when Nizaam Carr’s pass was perfectly-timed and legal to free the Gloucester-bound scrum-half for a fluid try Sopoaga improved.
Sale wrestled back the momentum when Solomona pinned his ears back for the corner only to be denied by Carr’s covering tackle.
After a lengthy TMO check, Carr was sent to the sin-bin and the penalty try was awarded to restore Sale’s nine-point advantage with 25 minutes remaining.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond raced from his lofty vantage point at the Ricoh Arena to pitchside when, against his orders, Sale took a shot at goal rather than kicking to the corner. De Klerk pushed the ball wide as Wasps rode out their 10 minutes with 14 men without conceding further points.
Wasps got within bonus point territory when Rob Miller slapped over a penalty with seven minutes remaining.
Dai Young’s side pressed for a dramatic late score with a multi-phase attack but Sharks held firm with the clock deep into the red to go some way to banishing the 67-17 nightmare suffered at Franklin’s Gardens a week ago.