Saracens too good for Sale
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Saracens returned to Premiership action with a four-try win over Sale Sharks at Allianz Park on Saturday.
A close first half saw Saracens earn a narrow lead while three second-half scores ensured the home side would claim a 36-22 victory, despite two late tries from the Sharks.
In stormy conditions, an early try courtesy of returning Welsh international Rhys Carre gave Saracens an important early advantage at Allianz Park.
Barely a minute gone on the clock and Saracens made an early impact on the game, Carre latching on to a loose line-out throw to claim the five points. Vunipola’s conversion fell short of the target however, caught in a strong gust.
With high winds and heavy rain battering north London large period of the game were dominated by both sides’ kicking game as both host and visitors looked to force errors under the high ball. Despite the gusty conditions Saracens were able to extend their first-half lead through the boots of Vunipola and Lozowski, the pair slotting a total of three penalties over the course of the half.
The boot of Rob du Preez opened the scoring for Sale Sharks before a breakaway try finished by wing Byron McGuigan right on the stroke of half-time sliced Saracens lead to 14-10 at the break.
Saracens started the second forty in the same vein as they had the first, extending their lead with an early try as Academy products Tom Whiteley and Rotimi Segun combined for the score. The conversion plus a penalty kick from the boot of Manu Vunipola edged Saracens further in front of the visitors as the Men in Black mounted a 24-10 lead.
Saracens confirmed their control over the game just a few minutes later when Nick Isiekwe charged down a clearance kick metres from the line and made no mistake as he collected the ball to score.
With breathing space between Saracens and the visitors, the home side continued to build the pressure on the Sharks as the forward pack enjoyed a profitable period of play, building sustained attacking pressure in search of a score. The pressure told in the 67th minute when replacement prop Richard Barrington was driven over the line to the delight of the Allianz Park crowd. With the posts swaying heavily in the wind Vunipola placed another assured conversion to give Saracens a 36-10 lead going into the final ten minutes.
The Sharks forced their hosts to work for the win adding two late tries to their tally courtesy of Rob and Dan du Preez to keep the game alive. Ultimately however it was too little too late as Saracens held on to their advantage to close out the win.
Tries: Carre, Segun, Isiekwe, Barrington
Cons: Vunipola 2
Pens: Vunipola 3, Lozowski
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: R Du Preez, McGuigan, D Du Preez
Cons: R Du Preez 2
Pen: R Du Preez
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Tom Whiteley, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 Callum Hunter-Hill, 4 Joel Kpoku, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Tom Woolstencroft, 1 Rhys Carre.
Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Josh Ibuanokpe, 19 Andy Christie, 20 Sean Reffell, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Ali Crossdale.
Sale Sharks: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Sam James, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Rob du Preez, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Jean-Luc du Preez, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrsion.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 James Phillips, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Gus Warr, 22 Luke James, 23 Denny Solomona.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Tom Foley, Hamish Smales
TMO: Rowan Kitt