Saracens beat Premiership rivals Sale Sharks

Former English Premiership champions Saracens beat Sale Sharks 28-15 in their European Rugby Champions Cup at Allianz Park on Saturday.

Last season’s beaten finalists scored three tries to condemn Sale to their fourth straight European defeat, but they could not claim the crucial bonus-point. They are three points clear of Clermont Auvergne in the race to the Champions Cup quarter-finals, with the French side set to welcome Munster tomorrow afternoon.

David Strettle blew a golden scoring chance in the sixth minute when he failed to collect Chris Ashton’s pass with the try-line at his mercy. Instead it was left to Farrell to kick Saracens ahead with two penalties.

However Sale looked a different proposition to last week’s defeat. Nick MacLeod was brought in at fly-half and his break got the Sharks close.

12 followed before Hines picked up and leapt – Gridiron style – over a heap of bodies to touch down for the game’s opening try on 22 minutes.

However MacLeod missed the conversion. Having scored a try, Hines then saved one moments later when he combined with scrum-half Will Cliff to deny the lively Duncan Taylor a score.

But Saracens were building momentum extended their lead shortly before half-time. Taylor went close from Ashton’s clever inside pass but Richard Wigglesworth spotted Goode loitering on the blindside and the England full-back stepped out of Michael Haley’s tackle to touch down in the corner.

Farrell missed the conversion which allowed MacLeod to close the gap, 11-8, on the stroke of half-time.
England outside-half Farrell put right his late first-half miss with a penalty before Ben Ramson broke free to secure victory in North London.

The 22-year-old winger streaked over the line to finish off a slick cross-field move, and Farrell was on-song to make it 21-8 after 57 minutes. Billy Vunipola was at apex of the Saracens juggernaut to crash over on 74 minutes and setup a race to claim a bonus-point score.

But Sale had other ideas as they rumbled back downfield to score through Eifion Lewis-Roberts – Joe Ford’s conversion took the final score to 28-15.

Final Score Saracens 28 (11) Sale Sharks 15 (8)

Scorers

Saracens
Tries – Goode, Ransom, B Vunipola
Pen -Farrell (3)
Con – Farrell (2)
Drop –

Sale Sharks
Tries – Hines, Roberts
Pen – MacLeod
Con – Ford
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee:
Jerome Garces (France),
Assistant ref: Salem Attalah (France),
Assistant ref: Thomas Charabas (France),
TMO : Eric Gauzins (France),
Citing Commissioner: Guy Gasparotto (France)

Saracens: Alex Goode; Chris Ashton, Chris Wyles, Duncan Taylor, David Strettle; Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Petrus du Plessis, George Kruis, Alistair Hargreaves (c), Kelly Brown, Jacques Burger, Billy Vunipola

Replacements: Brett Sharman, Richard Barrington, James Johnston, Jim Hamilton, Jackson Wray, Neil de Kock, Charlie Hodgson, Ben Ransom

Sale Sharks: Michael Haley; Tom Brady, Will Addison, Mark Jennings, Mark Cueto; Nick MacLeod, Will Cliff; Ross Harrison, Shalva Mamukashvili, Vadim Cobilas, Nathan Hines, Andrei Ostrikov, Mark Easter, Dan Braid (c), Josh Beaumont

Replacements: Cameron Neild, Eifion Lewis-Roberts, James Flynn, Jon Mills, Andrew Hughes, Nathan Fowles, Joe Ford, Andy Forsyth

With thanks to EPCRugbu.

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