Saracens ease to victory over Sale Sharks

Mike Ellery (C) of Saracens drives through the Sale Sharks defence

Aviva Premiership Champions Saracens kicked off the defence of their title with a convincing 41-3 victory over Sale Sharks.

Saracens dominated the first half and deservedly went into a 27-3 lead via tries from Michael Rhodes, Tim Streather and Mike Ellery, while Charlie Hodgson was unerring with the boot.

Danny Cipriani’s penalty proved to be the Sharks’ only score as the hosts continued to dominate after the break and went over twice more through Ellery and the returning Will Fraser.

The defending champions were looking to lay down a marker early. They pressurised the Sharks in the opening exchanges and it was no surprise to see them go into a 10-0 lead after 17 minutes.

Their first score came through flanker Rhodes, who latched onto the back of a driving maul and touched down as the pack marched towards the line.

Hodgson converted and then added a penalty to extend their buffer before Cipriani briefly reduced the deficit from the tee.

However, Mark McCall’s men were in impressive form and, after their stand-off had kicked his second three-pointer, Streather bounced off a poor tackle to go over for another Sarries try.

That gave them a 17-point advantage and it soon got worse for Steve Diamond’s team as Ellery was the beneficiary of good work from Alex Goode and Charlie Hodgson.

To Sale’s credit, they were far more resilient in the second period but they failed to create many opportunities. Instead, Saracens eventually found themselves back on the front foot and it was no surprise to see them go over once again.

Converted back-row Ellery was the man who touched down as the wing went in at the corner.

The Sharks had the odd glimpse of successfully breaking Sarries’ seemingly impregnable defensive alignment in the latter stages, but the home side were typically dogged and Fraser’s 75th minute effort rounded off an impressive performance.

Final Score Saracens 41 (27) Sale Sharks 3 (3)

Scorers

Saracens
Tries: Rhodes, Streather, Ellery 2, Fraser
Cons: Hodgson 4, Goode
Pens: Hodgson 2

Sale
Pen: Cipriani

Match Official
Referee: Dean Richards (RFU)

Teams

Saracens

Goode; Ashton, Streather, Taylor, Ellery; Hodgson, De Kock; Gill, George, Du Plessis, Itoje (capt), Hamilton, Rhodes, Brown, Wray.

Replacements: Porecki, M Vunipola, Lamositele, Kruis, Fraser, Spencer, Tompkins, Ransom.

Sale Sharks

Haley; Arscott, James, Tuitupou, Addison; Cipriani, Cusiter; Harrison, Taylor, Mujati, Beaumont, Evans, Braid (capt), Seymour, Easter.

Replacements: Briggs, Flynn, Cobilas, Mills, Lund, Stringer, Macleod, Jennings.

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