Saracens 24 Sale 19 match report: Saracens bring Danny Cipriani’s full house down with second-half tries

Sarries remain top of the Aviva Premiership as they grind out victory against a valiant Sale side led by the former England fly-half

Allianz Park

A full house of scoring by Danny Cipriani was the first for Sale since a certain Charlie Hodgson performed the feat – a try, conversion, dropped goal and penalty goal – in 2002. But Hodgson, now a Saracen, still had the drop on his old team as the leaders of the Premiership eked out an eighth win in nine league matches.

It was painful to watch in more than one respect; Saracens were denied much of their usual profit from line-out drives by an obdurate Sale and were obliged instead to hammer through dozens of phases for their two tries by Jack Wilson and George Kruis in the second half. Sarries also suffered the wretched sight of their England Saxons flanker Will Fraser being taken to hospital with a suspected broken foot and knee ligament damage after his leg was trapped during a Sale tackle. The promising Fraser, 24, had returned in October from a six-month absence with a shoulder injury.

A muddle between Hodgson and Alex Goode in the Saracens 22 led to Charlie Ingall feeding Cipriani for the 12th-minute try that helped Sale – winners once away to Saracens in the league since October 1995 – to a 13-6 interval lead that included a 55-metre penalty by Rob Miller. Cipriani, one of three past and present England fly-halves on view, also contributed a deft pick off the floor, a brilliant no-look pass to Miller and a drop on the half-time whistle.

Saracens had pressed their current England No 10, Owen Farrell, into inside-centre service, with muted results and he looked heartily hacked off – with life or himself, it wasn’t clear which – when he was substituted with Saracens trailing 16-11. Wilson, a New Zealander making his Premiership debut after impressing in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, scored from Hodgson’s pass then a possible Sale try by Ingall was chalked off for a knock-on, before Cipriani kicked a 49th minute penalty.

But Sale, began to make mistakes. Tommy Taylor dived round a ruck to give Hodgson a penalty on 58 minutes before a box-kick by Will Cliff that needed to find touch failed to do so, and renewed the impetus in a long Saracens onslaught that culminated in Kruis bundling over wide on the left. Hodgson converted before he and Nick Macleod collected a penalty apiece in the last two minutes.

Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall described the Premiership as “unbelievably competitive”. McCall’s Sharks counterpart Steve Diamond, once a Saracens coach himself, merely expressed the hope that “the super-clubs like the one we played today don’t come poaching our young players.”

Whether the two men’s employers speak with same voice regarding the fallout from the latest developments in Europe will be seen at a shareholders’ meeting of Premiership Rugby Ltd on Thursday. The Saracens chief executive, Ed Griffiths, said yesterday of the French clubs’ decision to stick with the existing Heineken Cup organisers European Rugby Cup, who have a TV contract with Sky at odds with PRL’s with BT Sport: “Governance is the outstanding issue and ERC is out from our [PRL’s] point of view. We [PRL] have to stay calm and clear minded. I have spoken to a few other clubs and not heard any dissenting voices. Personally I still think there will be agreement.” Meanwhile another PRL insider told the IoS: “We have alternatives for next season to just play domestically or with an international element.”

Line-ups:

Saracens: A Goode; J Wilson (M Bosch, 79), C Wyles, O Farrell (D Taylor, 54), D Strettle; C Hodgson, N de Kock (R Wigglesworth, 51); R Barrington, S Brits (J George, 79), M Stevens (J Johnston, 51), S Borthwick (capt), G Kruis (E Sheriff, 75), J Wray, W Fraser (K Brown, 32), E Joubert.

Sale Sharks: R Miller; C Ingall, M Jennings, J Leota, W Addison (T Brady, 15); D Cipriani (N Macleod, 75), D Peel (W Cliff, 13); R Harrison, T Taylor (M Jones, 62), V Cobilas, A Ostrikov (J Mills, 62), M Paterson, D Braid (capt; M Easter, 62), D Seymour, J Gaskell.

Referee: J P Doyle (London).

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there