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Danny Cipriani

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?

Kirwan and Lam on Sale's coach hitlist

Bryan Redpath, the Gloucester head coach who has been heavily linked with an imminent move to Sale, will find his every move monitored when the two clubs meet at Kingsholm this weekend for a squabble over Heineken Cup qualification. He is not, however, the only name in the frame for the vacancy in the north-west. Two New Zealanders with rich World Cup experience, John Kirwan and Pat Lam, are on the interview list, as is Eddie O'Sullivan, the former Ireland coach who worked with the United States last year.