Ruthless Sarries crush Sale

Date published: October 17 2015

Premiership champions Saracens got off to a perfect start to the season as they hammered Sale 41-3 at Allianz Park.

Sarries dominated the first half and deservedly went into a 27-3 lead via tries from Michael Rhodes, Tim Streather and Mike Ellery, while Charlie Hodgson was unerring with the boot.

Danny Cipriani's penalty proved to be the Sharks' only score as the hosts continued to dominate after the break and went over twice more through Ellery and the returning Will Fraser.

The defending champions were looking to lay down a marker early. They pressurised the Sharks in the opening exchanges and it was no surprise to see them go into a 10-0 lead after 17 minutes.

Their first score came through flanker Rhodes, who latched onto the back of a driving maul and touched down as the pack marched towards the line. Hodgson converted and then added a penalty to extend their buffer before Cipriani briefly reduced the deficit from the tee.

However, Mark McCall's men were in impressive form and, after their stand-off had kicked his second three-pointer, Streather bounced off a poor tackle to go over for another Sarries try.

That gave them a 17-point advantage and it soon got worse for Steve Diamond's team as Ellery was the beneficiary of good work from Alex Goode and Charlie Hodgson.

To Sale's credit, they were far more resilient in the second period but they failed to create many opportunities. Instead, Saracens eventually found themselves back on the front foot and it was no surprise to see them go over once again.

Converted back-row Ellery was the man who touched down as the wing went in at the corner.

The Sharks had the odd glimpse of successfully breaking Sarries' seemingly impregnable defensive alignment in the latter stages, but the home side were typically dogged and Fraser's 75th minute effort rounded off an impressive performance.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Rhodes, Streather, Ellery 2, Fraser
Cons: Hodgson 4, Goode
Pens: Hodgson 2

For Sale:
Pen: Cipriani

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Tim Streather, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 Mike Ellery, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton 4 Maro Itoje (c), 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jamie George, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Dave Porecki, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 George Kruis, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nick Tompkins, 23 Ben Ransom.

Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Will Addison, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Mark Easter 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (captain), 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Josh Beaumont, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Magnus Lund, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Mark Jennings

Venue: Allianz Park
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson, Nigel Carrick
TMO: David Sainsbury