This uniquely demanding Premiership season has seen some remarkable contests but few more extraordinary than this one. Having been a distant second for much of the game the 14-man Chiefs staged the most stunning of comebacks from 19-3 down and will now enjoy home advantage when these two sides meet again in the semi-finals.
Early in the second-half Sale had appeared to be on course for a home semi themselves thanks to tries from Byron McGuigan, AJ MacGinty, and Arron Reed. All they needed was a fourth try to secure an extra bonus point, with the dismissal of Sam Skinner for a high challenge on the diminutive Faf de Klerk with 25 minutes left seeming to have sunk the Chiefs without trace.
Instead it proved the catalyst for a rousing comeback, tries from the outstanding Luke Cowan-Dickie and Stu Townsend and the accurate boot of Joe Simmonds hauling last season’s double champions back in front in the final quarter. The hosts duly hung on to clinch second place in the table and ensure that Saturday’s rematch will be staged back in Devon.