Sun 30 Oct 2022 | 08:14

The Goode performance that cements Sarries' top spot

The Goode performance that cements Sarries' top spot
Sun 30 Oct 2022 | 08:14
The Goode performance that cements Sarries' top spot
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MATCH REPORT: Alex Goode produced a virtuoso performance to celebrate his entry into Saracens’ history books, but it was Theo McFarland who did most to ensure the occasion was marked by victory over Sale.

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Saracens cemented their place at the summit of the Premiership with a 33-22 win, after they recovered from a shaky start to boss the team placed one spot below them in the table.

In honour of making a record 339th appearance for the club, Goode was given a guard of honour that included World Cup winners Francois Pienaar and Michael Lyangh and it was his dynamic solo try that initially turned the tide.

The 34-year-old England fullback was influential throughout, making a seamless transition from fullback to flyhalf when Manu Vunipola was injured, but McFarland stole the show.

One terrific catch and two devastating breaks, the first of which swept him over the whitewash, continued the Samoan lock’s brilliant start to the season.

Nine players across both teams were on England duty, while Saracens’ duo Owen Farrell and Jamie George were injured, but there were still plenty of highlights, including a spirited Sharks fightback that ultimately fell short.

Sale brought their forward power to bear in an ominous start that produced a try for Ben Curry from a line-out, but that was soon eclipsed by a moment of magic from Goode.

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The score started with McFarland’s towering gather of the restart but it was Goode, acting as first receiver, who provided the magic as he spotted a gap and accelerated clear to touch down.

(Continue below …)

Premiership round eight results

Problems began to mount for Saracens, however, as Goode was forced to switch positions before conceding a penalty try as Sale poured forward from a line-out.

To compound matters, Ben Earl was sin-binned for going in at the side on his debut as captain.

For all their control of the match, Sale led just 15-8 when Elliot Daly landed a long-range penalty and on the half-hour mark, McFarland was responsible for another moment of brilliance that saw the scores levelled.

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Alex Lozowski made the initial inroads before later feeding McFarland who slipped around Robert du Preez before showing remarkable athleticism to canter over the line.

Goode kicked the conversion and added a penalty as Saracens took the lead for the first time.

The advantage grew early in the second half when Goode won a turnover and once Nick Tompkins had shown his dancing feet to bring the move to life, Saracens’ playmaker sent over the marauding Earl.

Daly kicked a 60-metre penalty but was then sin-binned for taking Du Preez out in the air and Tompkins followed him for a dangerous tackle, reducing Saracens to 13 men for three minutes.

The pressure eventually told when full-back Joe Carpenter went over and Sale were now dominant, although they were denied what looked like a certain try by spilling over the line.

The Sharks had wasted their final throw of the dice as Saracens drove downfield where Goode – who was inevitably named man of the match – grubbered for Tompkins to score.

The scorers

For Saracens
Tries: Goode, McFarland, Earl, Tompkins
Cons: Goode 2
Pens: Daly 2, Goode

For Sale Sharks
Tries: B Curry, Carpenter, Penalty try
Cons: R du Preez, penalty try does not require a conversion
Pen: R du Preez

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Ben Earl (captain), 6 Andy Christie, 5 Theo McFarland, 4 Callum Hunter-Hill, 3 Christian Judge, 2 Kapeli Pifeleti, 1 Eroni Mawi.
Replacements: 16 Theo Dan, 17 James Flynn, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Andrew Kitchener, 20 Toby Knight, 21 Ruben de Haas, 22 Josh Hallett, 23 Sean Maitland.

Sale Sharks: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Gus Warr, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 Josh Beaumont, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 James Harper, 19 Jono Ross, 20 Sam Dugdale, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Byron McGuigan.

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Jonathan Healy
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

Premiership standings

PV: 50
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