Saracens' last Premiership game at Vicarage Road ended on a victorious note as they easily beat Sale Sharks 32-12 on Sunday.
Saracens' last Premiership game at Vicarage Road ended on a victorious note as they easily beat lowly Sale Sharks 32-12 on Sunday.
It was far from a demolition full of vintage free-flowing rugby but the hosts had far too much firepower for the demoralised Sharks and the victory owed much to one current and one former England fly-half.
Danny Cipriani, another ex England pivot, did put the struggling visitors ahead early on with two penalties inside the opening 10 minutes but it didn't take long for Sarries to establish their customary rhythm and pattern of play.
And, with Owen Farrell faultless with the boot in the first half, Sale were punished for every single display of ill-discipline.
The 21-year-old England international, starting in his preferred position of fly-half, kicked five penalties in the space of less than quarter of an hour to give the home side a commanding 15-6 lead at the break.
Sale were warned about the regularity with which they were conceding penalties prior to the interval but it was their defensive frailties that they had to worry about more after the interval.
After Cipriani had kicked two penalties to Farrell's one early in the second half, the home side summoned Charlie Hodgson from the bench and it took him less than a minute to make a major impact on the match.
The Premiership's all-time leading points scorer showed why he is one of the finest distributors in European rugby, giving the inside pass for David Strettle to coast over under the posts.
And the same two players combined again with 10 minutes remaining to put the game beyond doubt as Strettle turned provider with a kick ahead for Hodgson to race onto and touch down.
Tries: Strettle, Hodgson
Cons: Farrell 2
Pens: Farrell 6
Pens: Cipriani 4
Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 James Short, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Nick Fenton-Wells, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Duncan Taylor.
Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Andy Powell, 7 Richie Vernon, 6 James Gaskell, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Aston Croall, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Daniel Braid, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Charlie Amesbury, 23 Cameron Shepherd.
Venue: Vicarage Road
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Andrew Watson
Timekeeper: Roy Marfleet
Assessor: Brian Campsall