Planet Rugby

Sarries put 50 past Sale in vain

06th February 2011 17:12

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Chris Wyles Saracens v Sale LV cup 2011

Hat-trick: Chris Wyles

Saracens saw their LV= Cup semi-final hopes dashed despite an emphatic 50-7 bonus-point win over Sale on Sunday.

Chris Wyles was the star for Saracens with a hat-trick of tries, but Dragons' win over Llanelli Scarlets ended their chances of advancing.

Matt Stevens made his first senior start since completing a two-year drug ban on January 19, while England Six Nations squad member Charlie Hodgson began at fly-half for Sale - against the team he'll be playing for next season.

Saracens caught the visitors cold, scoring a well-worked try before two minutes had elapsed. The attack, launched towards the right, was switched cleverly by Owen Farrell, with Wyles touching down on the left.

Farrell missed the conversion attempted from wide out, but had a hand in his team's second try, scored in the sixth minute.

Again, Saracens attacked in strength and again it was United States international Wyles who finished it on the left. Farrell's conversion flew wide.

Sale hit back two minutes later when a fine break by Iain Thornley was halted close to the line. But the centre managed to offload well to full-back Nick Macleod who scored by the posts. Hodgson kicked the conversion.

Blustering winds made it difficult to judge kicking accurately, and Farrell missed a penalty after 13 minutes as well as a third conversion after flanker Jackson Wray was driven over Sale's line in the 15th.

Prop Stevens was enjoying considerable success in the scrum, helping create a platform from which Saracens launched a succession of powerful attacks that kept Sale pinned in their 22.

The pressure told again on 23 minutes. Saracens kicked a penalty to touch, Mouritz Botha took the throw and when the maul got rolling, Sale were crushed, hooker Jamie George driven over for the fourth, bonus-point winning try.

This time, Farrell's conversion looked spot-on only to strike to right-hand post and fly out.

So it was understandable that the teenage fly-half should enjoy a brief shake of the fist in celebration when his 33rd-minute penalty flew straight between the posts.

Farrell produced a similar shot two minutes from half-time as Sale were once more penalised for offside by referee Leighton Hodges.

Things got worse for Sale just five minutes after the break when Wyles broke up the left, kicked ahead and beat opposite number Rhys Crane in a straight sprint to complete his hat-trick. Farrell missed the conversion.

Despite ringing the changes, Saracens continued to threaten with Alex Goode switched to fly-half when Farrell left after an hour. To their credit, Sale battled defiantly, making repeated tackles to stem the flow.

Back Hilary Staff came off the bench to make his Saracens debut, and was quickly armed with a chance to attack. A six-man move was halted by smother defence feet from the Sale line.

Sale were finding it increasingly difficult to escape their own half, and at times, their 22. And they finally cracked again on 72 minutes when skipper Ernst Joubert smashed his way between two defenders, Goode adding the conversion.

Try number seven arrived four minutes later when an attempted clearance was charged down and Justin Melck had the legs to get outside the cover defence. Goode added the conversion.

The rout was completed when Rodd Penney, back with Saracens after a spell in France, sped up the right unchallenged to score by the flag.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Tries:Wyles 3, Wray, Gill, Joubert, Melck, Penney
Cons: Goode 2
Pens: Goode 2

For Sale:
Tries: MacLeod
Cons: Hodgson

Saracens:: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Rodd Penney, 12 Nils Mordt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert (C), 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Hayden Smith, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Jamie George, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Jared Saunders, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Hugh Vyvyan, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Henry Staff, 23 Noah Cato.

Sale Sharks: 15 Nick Macleod, 14 Rhys Crane, 13 Chris Bell, 12 Iain Thornley, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Sean Cox, 5 Kristian Ormsby, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Lee Imiolek, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Aston Croall.
Replacements:16 Ben Roberts, 17 Alex Allen, 18 Simon McIntyre, 19 Nic Rouse, 20 Chris Brightwell, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Fergus Mulchrone

Venue: Vicarage Road
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)

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