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).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat