Planet Rugby

Saracens cruise to the top

23rd March 2012 22:24

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Chris Wyles Saracens scoring a try against Sale

Opening try: Chris Wyles scores for Sarries

Charlie Hodgson returned to haunt former club Sale with 20 points in a 45-9 win for reigning Aviva Premiership champions Saracens.

Hodgson was on hand to kick four penalties and four conversions as Saracens cruised to the top of the table as a result of their second bonus-point victory in the league.

Sale's porous defence - the second worst in the league - was evident in all five of Saracens' tries on what was a night to forget for the hosts.

USA Eagles international Chris Wyles stunned the home faithful when he weaved his way over all too easily on 14 minutes.

Penalties for either side were then followed by Saracens' second try, which came as a result of a knock on from Rob Miller. Neil De Kock launched a counter-attack to put Ernst Joubert away down the left-hand touchline.

Nick Macleod and Hodgson traded further kicks at goal with the former's effort just before half-time coming as reward for Sale's best attacking effort of the half.

Trailing 18-9 at the break Sale needed the first score of the second half, but they were unable to fashion a score of any kind whereas Saracens went on to post another 27 points.

Hodgson added two penalties and converted Alex Goode's try in the 55th-minute to put Mark McCall's men out of sight.

Poor Sale tackling allowed Michael Tagicikibau in for Saracens' bonus-point try before Hugh Vyvyan confirmed the rout with a fifth.

The only downside for Saracens was the sight of flanker Andy Saull being stretchered off shortly after coming on in the second half.

The scorers:

For Sale:
Pens: Macleod 3

For Saracens:
Tries: Goode, Joubert, Tagicakibau, Vyvyan, Wyles
Cons: Hodgson 4
Pens: Hodgson 4

Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Sam Tuitupou (capt), 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Andy Powell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Mark Easter, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Tom Holmes, 20 Richie Vernon, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Johnny Leota, 23 Will Addison.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Duncan Taylor, 13 Chris Wyles, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil De Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Juston Melck, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 John Smit.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Hugh Vyvyan, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Adam Powell, 23 Michael Tacigakibau.

Referee: Andrew Small

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