Leicester Tigers secured their spot in the Premiership playoffs with a thumping 42-22 victory over Sale Sharks on Saturday.
Stuart Lancaster's attendance in Salford gave the England head coach to assess the form of Danny Cipriani, but the Sale fly-half had scant opportunity to give any evidence that he deserved a recall, as the Tigers dominated for large parts.
There were over 10,000 fans packed into the AJ Bell stadium, a record high, and the away fans that had made the long trip up to the Northwest were rewarded with a fine performance from their side.
Sale pressed early on, but were hit with a sucker punch when Vereniki Goneva pounced on a neat kick in behind by Owen Williams to score the game's opening points. Cipriani did finally get the Sharks off the mark, slotting a mid range penalty to get the home side off the mark.
TMO Trevor Fisher was called into action half way through the first half, eventually disallowing Anthony Allen's try after a forward pass by Ed Slater in the build up.
Williams was having an off day with the boot. His three missed penalties in the first half meant Sale's indiscipline was not punished. Leicester did eventually add to their lead when replacement Toby Flood was given an easy run in, sending the Tigers into half time with an 11 point lead.
Richard Cockerill's men had the win in the bag just five minutes into the second half. Niall Morris crashed over under the posts, as the AJ Bell crowd realised it wasn't going to be their side's day.
Flood virtually walked through the Sale defence to grab a bonus point for the Tigers, in a game which rarely saw them get out of second gear. Sale did get a try of their own, eventually. Sammy Tuitupou's perfectly weighted pass found one of Sharks' star performers this season, Michael Paterson, who turned on the gas to bundle over in the corner.
Henry Thomas and Jonny Leota crashed over late on to give the home faithful something to cheer for, with Sale already knowing they will be playing European Rugby Champions Cup next season. David Mele had the last say, scoring with just seconds left.
Tries: Paterson, Thomas, Leota
Cons: Ford 2
Yellow card: Arscott
Tries: Goneva, Flood 2, Morris, Penalty Try, Mele
Cons: Williams 5
Sale Sharks: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Charlie Ingall, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Vilaimi Fahiki, 7 David Seymour (captain), 6 James Gaskell, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Andrei Ostrikov, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Kirill Kulemin, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Ed Slater (c), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Louis Deacon, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 David Mele, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Blaine Scully.
Referee: JP Doyle