Heartbroken Sharks Fall Short in Thrilling Premiership Semi-final Showdown

After a valiant effort, the Sale Sharks came up just short against Bath in the Premiership semi-final, despite a number of impressive individual displays. Fullback Joe Carpenter and winger Tom O’Flaherty shone, but ultimately Bath’s class and experience proved decisive in this thrilling encounter.
2X9K62E Sale Sharks' Joe Carpenter (third left) celebrates after Tom O'Flaherty (rear) scored a try during the Gallagher Premiership play-off semi-final match at The Recreation Ground, Bath. Picture date: Saturday June 1, 2024.

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Heartbroken by Narrow Defeat, Sale Sharks Outmatched in Premiership Semi-final Clash

After a hard-fought 31-23 loss to Bath in the Premiership semi-final at the Rec on Saturday, the Sale Sharks players gave it their all but ultimately fell short against a determined Bath side. Here are the player ratings for the Sharks:

15 Joe Carpenter:

The fullback was superb in the first hour of the match, consistently winning high balls and providing a dangerous counter-attacking threat. Carpenter’s performance has surely caught the eye of England coach Steve Borthwick ahead of the national team’s mid-year games. 9

14 Tom Roebuck:

The winger was a constant menace, engaging in a thrilling battle with Bath’s Will Muir. Although he didn’t quite dominate the aerial exchanges as he usually does, Roebuck still impressed with his dynamism. 7

13 Sam James:

The departing centre had some nice moments, but was perhaps not given enough opportunities to link up with Rob du Preez and George Ford. 6

12 Rob du Preez:

The fly-half floated some excellent passes, creating chances for the Sharks’ outside backs. It was a strong performance to cap off an impressive season. 7

11 Tom O’Flaherty:

Slippery and elusive, the winger evaded numerous tackles through his footwork and deceptive strength, being rewarded with a well-deserved try. 8

10 George Ford:

The experienced playmaker showcased his quality in the middle stages of the match, but was unable to seize full control as Bath’s half-backs ultimately dominated. 7

9 Gus Warr:

The combative scrum-half had his moments, but was ultimately outplayed by Bath’s Ben Spencer, who demonstrated greater length and accuracy on his box-kicks. 6

8 Jean Luc du Preez:

The powerful number eight was unable to get heavily involved, being well-marshalled by the Bath defence despite his usual barnstorming runs. 6

7 Sam Dugdale:

The flanker has ended the season in excellent form, but couldn’t quite impose himself as much as he would have liked on this occasion. 6

6 Ben Curry (c):

The inspirational captain was superb, making some huge hits, disrupting Bath’s breakdown and carrying strongly. A true leader’s performance. 8

5 Ernst van Rhyn:

Deputizing well for the late withdrawal of Hyron Andrews, the lock did a commendable job, though the Sharks would have preferred to keep him fresh for a greater second-half impact. 7

4 Cobus Wiese:

The physical South African, who is departing for the Bulls, was a powerhouse on both sides of the ball and will be sorely missed by the Sharks. 8

3 James Harper:

The tighthead prop held his own despite the intense pressure, but Beno Obano ultimately had the edge in the scrum battle. 5

2 Tommy Taylor:

The hooker scored a try and had a nice touch to set up O’Flaherty’s effort, while the lineout ran smoothly, but the scrum was an issue. 6

1 Bevan Rodd:

The loosehead won one scrum penalty but also conceded a couple. He was busy in the loose as always, but couldn’t quite be the game-changer he can be. 6

Tom Curry made an impact off the bench, looking sharp and ready to join the England squad for the upcoming tour. However, the other Sharks replacements were unable to make the same decisive contribution. 5

Despite the narrow defeat, the Sale Sharks can hold their heads high after a valiant performance against a formidable Bath side. The players gave everything, but ultimately the home team’s class and experience proved crucial in this enthralling Premiership semi-final clash.

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