Saracens grind past Sale

Date published: December 18 2016

Saracens made it four wins from four in the Champions Cup but had to work for their 24-10 victory over Sale Sharks on Sunday.

Coming off the back of a 50-3 hammering at Allianz Park last weekend, Sale were looking to end a run of nine straight European defeats. 

After a back and forth opening 10 minutes, it was Saracens who opened the scoring with a penalty from the ever reliable boot of Owen Farrell. 

Sale fly-half AJ MacGinty kicked three points from the tee to level the scores on the half hour mark.

With neither side able to cross the try-line in the opening 40 minutes, a second Farrell penalty on half-time was the only addition to the scoreboard.

At the start of the second-half, Saracens began to wear down the Sale defence. Sharks hooker Rob Webber was shown yellow for collapsing a maul.

Despite Saracens failing to take advantage of the extra man, they were awarded another chance when Sale's Bryn Evans was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock on.

After two earlier misses, Farrell eventually kicked his third penalty of the evening to increase his side's lead to six points.

Much to the despair of Steve Diamond, Sale were given a third yellow card of the evening with ten minutes to go, TJ Ioane dismissed for a questionably dangerous tackle on George Kruis. Farrell added another three points from the resulting penalty.

After nearly half an hour of being a man up, Saracens finally made it count. A beautiful offload by Will Skelton gave Farrell an easy run in for the first try of the evening.

Their second came with three minutes to go, youngster Nathan Earle pouncing on a grubber kick through to dive under the posts.

But, Sale weren't done. Straight from kick-off, the ball made its way through the Sharks backline, eventually finding its way to Evans who crossed to put some shine on the result for Diamond's men.

The scorers:

For Sale:
Try: Evans
Con: MacGinty
Pen: MacGinty
Yellow Cards: Webber (45 min), Evans (57 min), Ioane (68 min)

For Saracens:
Tries: Farrell, Earle
Con: Farrell
Pens: Farrell 4

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Josh Charnley, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 James Mitchell, 8 TJ Ioane, 7 Magnus Lund (c), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 David Seymour, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Mark Jennings, 23 Tom Arscott

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Nathan Earle

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton (Ireland), Jonathan Peak (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)