Planet Rugby

Saracens edge the Sharks

01st March 2009 17:09

Share:

Saracens rode their luck to pip Sale 24-23 in the Guinness premiership on Sunday, with Lee Thomas missing a last-minute conversion which could have given Sale the points.

After away defeats to lowly Northampton and Newcastle seventh-placed Saracens returned to winning ways with tries from prop Nick Lloyd and wing Noah Cato and 14 points - three penalties, a conversion and a drop goal - from stand-off Glen Jackson.

Sale should have snatched a late victory, however. Lock Dean Schofield scored his second try four minutes from the end, but centre Lee Thomas pulled the relatively simple conversion wide.

Saracens hit the headlines in the week by announcing that many of their players - 15 was reported - will not be required next season.

Sale director of rugby Kingsley Jones said he has already had agents on to him and there were a number of the home side who did their hopes of a move no harm at all.

Thomas did score a try, a conversion and two penalties, but it was his miss near the end that he was left to reflect on most.

Saracens took the lead in the ninth minute with a Jackson penalty awarded when opposite number Charlie Hodgson threw the ball away to prevent a quick line-out.

It became 8-0 soon afterwards with Lloyd barging his way over, but Jackson hit the post with his conversion attempt and back came Sale after 16 minutes with a try of their own from Schofield after a kick had been charged down.

Thomas converted that before both teams were forced into changes, Saracens losing prop Cencus Johnston and Sale both scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth and prop Eifion Roberts at the same time midway through the half.

Sale had seven of their squad away on international duty, but despite the further losses Thomas kicked them into a 10-8 lead with a 29th minute penalty.

Saracens were soon in more trouble when Lloyd had to be helped from the field. However, before half-time they turned things back their way thanks to Jackson landing both a drop goal and a second penalty. Another came back off a post.

At 14-10 down on the restart and with uncontested scrums because of more injuries Sale pressed hard to regain the ascendancy, but after Thomas missed a penalty Saracens stretched the difference by a further seven points.

They created a clear overlap down the left and New Zealand lock Chris Jack passed for Cato to touch down for a try converted by Jackson.

Within seven minutes, though, the gap was back to only three points. Thomas scored in the opposite corner and although he missed the conversion he made no mistake with a 58th minute.

Jackson was presented with two more penalty chances and landed the second for 24-18. It was a lead that was whittled down again, but they just held on.

In the match programme Saracens chief executive officer Edward Griffiths admitted it had been a difficult week, but stated: "I believe it will prove to be the darkest day before a genuine, bright and lasting dawn."

He called on fans to support the team "as never before" and told them: "The club is implementing a concerted business plan to transform itself from a perennially mid-table outfit losing in excess of 2million every season into a club that achieves sustained success on the field and moves towards commercial viability off the field."

The target is to have 15,000 at all home games. Today's attendance was 8,311.

Chairman Nigel Wray added: "At the moment the game of rugby is essentially split into two, the RFU who make a very substantial profit despite a burgeoning bureaucracy and the Premier League clubs who make a very substantial loss i.e. something is going wrong here.

"We have to make Saracens sustainable otherwise sooner or later the model will break, as indeed it will for everyone else."

The scorers:

For Saracens:

Tries: Lloyd, Cato

Con: Jackson

Pens: Jackson 3

Drop goal: Jackson

For Sale:

Tries: Schofield, Thomas, Schofield

Con: Thomas

Pens: Thomas 2

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Noah Cato, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Justin Marshall, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Wikus van Heerden (c), 5 Hugh Vyvyan, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Cencus Johnston, 2 Matt Cairns, 1 Nick Lloyd.

Replacements: 16 Andy Kyriacou, 17 Cobus Visagie, 18 Kris Chesney, 19 David Seymour, 20 Mickey Wilson, 21 Brad Barritt, 22 Rodd Penney.

Sale: 15 Nick Macleod, 14 Chris Bell, 13 Rudi Keil, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 David Doherty, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 JM Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Luke Abraham, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Brent Cockbain, 4 Dean Schofield, 3 Eifion Roberts, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Lionel Faure.

Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Stuart Turner, 18 Sean Cox, 19 David Tait, 20 Chris Leck, 21 Oriol Ripol, 22 Selorm Kuadey.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

Touch judges: Bruce Robertson, Andy Watson

Television match official: John Burtenshaw

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs HarlequinsBath vs Harlequins Preview
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs WaspsLeicester Tigers vs Wasps Preview
Exeter vs SaracensExeter vs Saracens Preview
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs GloucesterLondon Irish vs Gloucester Preview
London Welsh vs NorthamptonLondon Welsh vs Northampton Preview
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale SharksNewcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs UlsterMunster vs Ulster Preview
Cardiff Blues vs TrevisoCardiff Blues vs Treviso Preview
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Preview
Leinster vs OspreysLeinster vs Ospreys Preview
Connacht vs ScarletsConnacht vs Scarlets Preview
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs DragonsGlasgow Warriors vs Dragons Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont AuvergneToulon vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821