Saracens brought league leaders Harlequins back to within touching distance after beating Sale 23-10 at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
Saracens brought Aviva Premiership leaders Harlequins back into touching distance after recording a 23-10 win over Sale Sharks at Vicarage Road.
Owen Farrell produced a perfect kicking display, scoring 13 points, as he once again displayed a temperament worthy of the international arena.
It was a chance for Charlie Hodgson to shine against his former employers for the first time, but it was his protÃ©gÃ© Farrell who put in another composed performance.
Sale enjoyed plenty of possession themselves and were rewarded when full-back Rob Miller and number eight Mark Easter touched down late on.
However, the hosts' defence were typically stout and the visitors failed to breach Steve Borthwick's charges for the majority of the game, even though Nick MacLeod had an early chance which he failed to take. And they were made to pay when David Strettle went in at the corner and Farrell converted a difficult opportunity from out wide.
He then added his first three-pointer on 30 minutes as the hosts led 10-0 at half-time. A
brace of penalties from that man Farrell put the home side further in control as Sale started to wilt under the pressure of the smothering Saracens pack.
Another strong forward drive from a line-out ended in prop Matt Stevens touching down, Farrell adding the extras, before Sale mounted a brief revival. Firstly, Miller scampered over before Easter went in soon after. Miller missed both conversions and had Sale's kickers demonstrated the accuracy of Farrell then they could have left London with a bonus-point.
Tries: Strettle, Borthwick
Con: Farrell 2
Pen: Farrell 3
Tries: Miller, Easter
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Owen Farrell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Deon Carstens.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Hayden Smith, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Adam Powell, 23 James Short.
Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Will Addison, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou (c), 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Richie Vernon, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Vadim Cobilas, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Tasesa Lavea, 23 Tom Brady.
Referee: Martin Fox