Sale and Saracens held to high-scoring draw

Date published: February 27 2016

A last gasp Tom Arscott try saw Sale draw 36-36 with Saracens in a thrilling encounter at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.

Three early tries from Sam James, Johnny Leota and Tom Arscott gave Sale a 17-point lead inside the first 16 minutes.

However, 2015 champions Saracens showed their title crendentials by dragging themselves back into the match.

A Chris Wyles brace following a Jim Hamilton effort to give Sarries a half-time lead. In the second half, early indiscipline from the visitors allowed the hosts to reclaim the lead through three penalties from Danny Cipriani.

However, Sarries roared back with tries from Nick Tompkins and Nick Ellery. These tries could not secure victory though as the hosts rallied, TJ Ioane and Arscott scored tries to level the scores but Cipriani could not convert the final try to give Sale victory.

The result sees Sale retain their 10-month unbeaten record at home and the bonus point takes them into the top six.

Meanwhile, Sarries have gone seven points clear atop the Premiership. Winger James signed a new two-year deal in the week for Sale and celebrated by opening the scoring in the eighth minute. James started the move himself, exchanging passes with Will Addison before crossing for a magnificent early try.

The Sharks scored their second try in the 11th minute. James was once more involved, gathering a chipped pass before finding Johnny Leota who scored in the corner.

Five minutes later, Leota turned provider, using swift hands to play in winger Tom Arscott who made the score 17-0.

Saracens clawed a try back in the 21st minute, Jim Hamilton the man who was adjudged to have touched the ball down at the bottom of a driving maul.

Wyles then scored the visitors' second try – the American getting Sarries right back in the match, latching onto a Tompkins offload to cross the whitewash. Hodgson could not convert leaving his side two points adrift at 17-15.

Wyles scored his second try in controversial fashion two minutes before the break. The winger looked to have been dragged into touch by a fine defensive tackle from Cipriani.

However, the TMO deemed that the try was good and Tim Wigglesworth awarded the try. This meant that at half-time the score was 17-22.

Cipriani scored a penalty after the break, cutting the deficit to just two points, and the fly-half then got Sale's noses back in front with another penalty in the 54th minute, making the scores 23-22.

The England international then stretched his side's lead to four points with another penalty, but just one minute later the visitors reclaimed the lead.

Sale's Will Addison spillied the ball the ball before it was intercepted by Wyles who played in Tompkins to score his side's bonus point try.

Saracens scored their fifth try when Leota gave the ball straight to Mike Ellery, with the former Sevens international having too much speed to be caught.

Ben Spencer converted to create a 10-point advantage for the visitors but Sale would not lie down though, and Ioane touched down following a big driving maul, securing a bonus point for the home side.

The tenth try of the match was scored by Arscott, the winger bringing the teams level with a last gasp try in the corner. It all fell to Cipriani to win the match for Sale, but his kick sailed just wide of the left-hand upright leaving the final score at 36-36.

The scorers: 

For Sale:
Tries: James, Leota, Arscott 2, Ioane
Con: Cipriani
Pens: Cipriani 3

For Saracens:
Tries: Hamilton, Wyles 2, Tompkins, Ellery
Cons: Hodgson, Spencer 3
Pen: Spencer

Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Tom Arscott, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Mark Easter 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Cameron Neild, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mark Jennings

Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson (c), 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Jacques Burger, , 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Hayden Smith, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jared Saunders, 1 Titi Lamositele. 
Replacements: 16 Dave Porecki, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Nathan Earle.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant Referees: Matthew O’Grady, Simon McConnell.
TMO: Trevor Fisher