Premiership: Sale 40-22 Newcastle - Sharks beat winless Falcons to go top

Arron Reed scores a try for Sale
Arron Reed's second try of the game secured a bonus point for Sale before half-time

Gallagher Premiership: Sale v Newcastle Falcons

Sale: (26) 40

Tries: Reed 2, B Curry, R du Preez, S James, Roebuck Cons: R du Preez 5

Newcastle: (10) 22

Tries: Brown, Chick, Byrne, Stephens Con: Thomas

Sale Sharks withstood a second-half fightback from winless Newcastle Falcons to register a victory that sent them top of the Premiership table.

Three tries in quick succession before the interval secured a bonus point for Sale and turned a 10-5 deficit into a 26-10 advantage by half-time.

Bryan Byrne and Iwan Stephens replied to move Newcastle within four points.

But Sam James and Tom Roebuck ended their hopes of victory, crossing after Falcons had been reduced to 14 men.

Newcastle remain bottom of the table and are the only top-flight side yet to win in the league this term, while a fifth victory in six matches moved Sale above previous leaders Harlequins, who host champions Saracens on Saturday.

A much-changed Falcons team made a wonderful start as winger Louis Brown dived in at the corner to score in the third minute of his Premiership debut.

Sale levelled when Newcastle failed to safely grab Roebuck's grubber kick, allowing Arron Reed to touch down for the first of his two tries.

Opposing captains Callum Chick and Ben Curry both powered over from close range for their respective sides, with Rob du Preez - starting at fly-half for Sale with England's George Ford rested - converting Curry's score to put the hosts in front for the first time.

Du Preez went under the posts himself for Sale's third, before setting up Reed to do likewise for the score that wrapped up a bonus point.

A comeback from 16 points behind seemed unlikely but Newcastle found fresh momentum early in the second half to put the match back in the balance.

Hooker Byrne finished a fine line-out move before Stephens chased a kick through from halfway to touch down.

But Sale moved clear again with two scores in the final five minutes, which came after Falcons replacement Oliver Spencer had been sent to the sin-bin for an infringement at the ruck.

Sale: Carpenter; Roebuck, S James, Bedlow, Reed; R du Preez, Warr; Rodd, Creevy, Harper, Wiese, Hill, van Rhyn, B Curry, D du Preez.

Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Harrison, Opoku-Fordjour, Bamber, Dugdale, Thomas, Curtis, Wills.

Newcastle: Redshaw; Brown, Kerr, Hutchison, Stephens; Thomas, Elliott; Brantingham, B Byrne, McCallum, Cardall, McDonald, Hawkins, Pepper, Chick.

Replacements: Maddison, Brocklebank, Tampin, Kelly, Bainbridge, Barton, Johnson, Spencer.

Referee: Adam Leal