Sport George Kruis of Saracens tries to break through the Sale defence on Saturday

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?

George Kruis of Saracens tries to break through the Sale defence

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

Dan Lydiate in action for Wales against Australia in the 2011 World Cup

Paul O'Connell and Dan Lydiate launch late charge for Lions selection

2009 captain and Welsh flanker return from injury desperate to impress coach Warren Gatland

Leicester thrash Sale at home

Leicester got their bid for a home Aviva Premiership play-off semi-final back on track by thrashing Sale 48-10 at Welford Road.

Hendre Fourie

Sale and England flanker Hendre Fourie forced to retire

The South Africa-born 33-year-old made eight senior appearances for England,

Jones bemoans Exiles’ missed opportunities

Worcester 13 London Welsh 6

David Tait: The forward was described as 'an absolute legend of a bloke' by Danny Care

Sale mourn loss of former forward David Tait

Rugby players, coaches and administrators were today mourning the loss of David Tait, the former Sale forward and Scotland seven-a-side international who fell to his death from an apartment block in Hong Kong. He was 25.

Sale’s Danny Cipriani kicked well against Toulon on Saturday

Cipriani finds hope for Sale in Mitchell's special experience

Sale's biggest crowd at the Salford City Stadium they moved into last summer witnessed a fifth loss in eight home matches but the Sharks' obdurate effort against the highly-paid, much-travelled Toulon spared them any hairdryer treatment from their new-old coach John Mitchell or the spectators.

Gloucester’s Freddie Burns (pictured) had his head coach, Nigel Davies, suggesting an England call-up was due after he put Danny Cipriani in the shade in the 29-3 home defeat of Sale.

Rugby round-up: Italy come within an ace of a shock

Australia came close to real embarrassment in Florence when they appeared to slip into coasting mode and ended up in a fight to cling on to a 22-19 victory over Italy.

Charlie Sharples can show this autumn he has an England future

Brian Smith: Stuart Lancaster will be looking to find more proven performers for England

Coach's view: England coach will want to emerge with a clear idea of who he can trust to deliver

Diamond delight at Sale’s first league win

The Sale chief executive, Steve Diamond praised his side’s resilience after they ignored the distraction of the club’s off-field difficulties to defeat London Irish 21-9 last night.

Newly promoted London Welsh could not possibly win a game without Gavin Henson performing like the world-beater he looked like being before his career disappeared down the celebrity plughole

Gavin Henson is finally fit and excited to make Exiles debut

Foremost among the many assumptions ahead of the start of this domestic campaign was that newly promoted London Welsh could not possibly win a game without Gavin Henson performing like the world-beater he looked like being before his career disappeared down the celebrity plughole. So much for assumption.

Drinks are on you: Olley Barkley's Bath team-mates say farewell

Premiership weekend team news

Bath v Sale (Today 2.15pm)

Gavin Henson is looking forward to a fresh start at the Kassam Stadium

Another 'final chance' for Gavin Henson as he prepares to lead Exiles to safety

Former reality TV star tells Chris Hewett he is relishing his return to rugby reality with London Welsh

The former England coach Brian Ashton is wanted by Sale

Sale keen for Brian Ashton to team up with Danny Cipriani

Sale, brimming with ambition ahead of the new Premiership season after making significant strides on and off the field, are hoping to tempt the former England coach Brian Ashton back into big-time rugby.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London