Saracens 24 Sale 19: Fresh Will Fraser injury mars Saracens’ joy

 

If someone had beamed down from Mars – or from rugby’s amateur era, which feels even more remote – for the Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens’ 24-19 win over Sale Sharks on Saturday how would they have judged the spectacle? An arena of wonderfully nuanced and contrasting players such as Saracens’ gliding fly-half Charlie Hodgson and cerebral lock Steve Borthwick? Or a base battlefield of mega-muscled gladiators battering each other Rollerball-style with casualties shipped off to hospital on motorised carts for the benefit of the paying public, television viewer and now – as we are told enthusiastically by competing broadcasters – broadband consumers?

Will Fraser’s woes epitomise the frailty of the human body in attempting to cope with rugby’s intense and repetitive contact, during a long season. The skillful and highly promising Saracens and England Saxons flanker will have an operation on his right leg today after sustaining a suspected break and ligament damage in an increasingly common occurrence - he was attempting a turnover at a ruck when he buckled under the weight of Andrei Ostrikov’s clear-out (Christian Wade suffered a similar fate for Wasps at London Irish on Saturday). Fraser, who had only returned to the game in October from six months out with a tendon torn off a shoulder bone, might have had a full England cap by now, but for injury.

Meantime there are 11 other players picked by England this year who are currently injured, including three from Saracens: the centres Brad Barritt and Joel Tomkins and prop Mako Vunipola. The home club rested their England wing Chris Ashton and Namibia flanker Jacques Burger, for sensible welfare reasons you would guess, although when Pro 12 teams do this before Heineken Cup matches it is derided by the Premiership as unfair.

Hodgson – another recent returnee from an Achilles tendon injury – effected one of his quick-thinking chargedowns against his old club in addition to kicking four penalties and the conversion of crucial 68th minute try by Borthwick’s protégé George Kruis. “It was a tough win and a bit of a struggle but the fact we ground it out was a credit to the team,” said Hodgson, after Borthwick, who is retiring at the end of the season, had his hands full outwitting Sale’s excellent line-out forward Mike Paterson.

The former Saracens coach Steve Diamond, now in charge of Sale, praised the younger Sharks players in the absence of 11 injured first choices – plus two more who went off in the first half – and hoped Saracens as a “super-club” would not “come poaching”. Hodgson said: “There’s obviously a perception of what Saracens are about but that’s none of my business. Steve can say what he likes. The hits and games take their toll slightly more now I am in my 30s but I am enjoying my rugby.”

The same is true for the comparatively spry Danny Cipriani on the evidence of the 26-year-old Sale fly-half’s heads-up running, positional kicking and creative handling. His converted try had Sale 13-6 ahead at half-time but Jack Wilson’s try on 44 minutes helped to rein the Sharks in. Sale have won only once away to Saracens in 18 years: in September 2005, at the much maligned Vicarage Road, when the attendance was 7132; Saturday’s at Allianz Park was 7126.

Scorers: Saracens: tries: Wilson, Kruis; conversion: Hodgson; penalties: Hodgson 4.

Sale Sharks: try: Cipriani; conversion: Cipriani; penalties: Miller, Cipriani, Macleod; drop: Cipriani.

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).

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Fury's Spring/Summer 2015 London Fashion Week roundup
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam