Saull excels to maintain Sarries' unbeaten run
Saracens 15 Sale 13
Monday 07 December 2009
The turn of the year will be doubly pivotal for Saracens, the leaders of the Guinness Premiership, who go to London Irish in their last match of 2009 and host Leicester in Watford in the curtain-raiser for 2010.
If they can sustain their unbeaten record in the league through those two tussles, a place in the end-of-season play-offs will be all-but certain.
There are also some issues of national selection at hand. Andy Saull has carried on his fine form of last season and the 21-year-old flanker has been tipped for England honours by Richard Hill, the eminent former Saracen and World Cup winner. "I'd be lying if I said I hadn't looked at the Leicester date and thought about playing against Lewis Moody for the first time," said Saull, referring to England's incumbent openside. "It would be a massive game and a huge opportunity. But you look at players like Mat Tait, Anthony Allen and even Shane Geraghty, who got slung straight into the England set-up. After two or three games they got chewed out and it's taken them time to get back into it. I'd be happy to get a call for the England Saxons and take it from there."
Derick Hougaard's five penalties did the trick for Sarries and though Sale played the more attractive rugby they had to settle for a losing bonus point. Director of rugby Kingsley Jones gnashed his teeth over today's hearing at Twickenham into the recent postponed match with Wasps but did not grumble at Saracens. "They're the best team in the league because they do the basics so well," Jones said.
Saracens: Penalties Hougaard (5); Sale: Try Koyamaibole; Conversion Hodgson; Penalties Hodgson (2).
Saracens: A Goode (R Penney, 17); N Cato, K Ratuvou, A Powell, C Wyles; D Hougaard, M Rauluni; R Gill, S Brits (E Reynecke, 50), C Nieto (R Skuse, 50), S Borthwick (capt), H Smith (H Vyvyan, 50), W van Heerden, A Saull (D Barrell, 50), E Joubert.
Sale: N Macleod; M Vakacegu, M Tait, D Bishop, B Cohen; C Hodgson, R Wigglesworth; E Roberts, N Briggs, J Forster (M Halsall, 70), D Schofield (capt; J Gaskell, 29), S Cox, C Fearns, D Seymour, S Koyamaibole.
Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Mario Balotelli scored as many goals for AC Milan on second debut as he did for Liverpool in the Premier League last season
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Jose Mourinho: Chelsea manager has four Guinness World records hanging in his office
Sir Alex Ferguson: 'I place discipline above all else and it might have cost us several titles...' but Manchester United boss wouldn't change it
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 4 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 5 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Refugees welcome: More than 250,000 sign Independent petition calling for Britain to 'take its fair share'