Sale Sharks player ratings: George Ford loses fly-half battle in Premiership final defeat

Jared Wright
Sale Sharks saracens permiership final player ratings George Ford

Following their 35-25 loss to Saracens in the Premiership Final at Twickenham, here is how we rated the Sale Sharks players.

15 Joe Carpenter: He was charged down in the build-up to Elliot Daly’s try, which swung the momentum firmly in Saracens’ favour. Carpenter did make headway on attack and came agonisingly close to denying Ivan van Zyl a score. A learning experience for the youngster who had some bright moments before the error. 5

14 Tom Roebuck: He was rewarded for chasing a seemingly lost cause with Akker van der Merwe’s sliced kick, but he had little success outside of that. Roebuck relentlessly chased the up and unders, but Saracens’ escort was just too good for him to contest often enough. 6

Centres

13 Rob du Preez: Some classy touches on attack as he linked up well with his wingers. Executed a brilliant 50:22 that Sale should have capitalised on better. He was caught out a bit on defence, especially for Max Malin’s try before half-time and got in a messy situation which led to the penalty try. Du Preez could have done better on Daly’s score too. 5

12 Manu Tuilagi: The hulking centre had some trademark moments as he hammered into the Saracens’ defence. Owen Farrell brilliantly stripped him of the ball in the first half, but otherwise, Tuilagi regularly got over the advantage line and beat defenders. 6

11 Arron Reed: Hardly given enough opportunities to show off his blistering pace. He did make some good reads on defence but was caught out positionally by the Saracens’ kicking game. 6

Ford loses fly-half battle

10 George Ford: Came off second best in the battle of the 10s but was not completely outplayed by Owen Farrell. He missed his trickiest kick but was successful with the others and tried to pick open the Sarries’ defence, but it was airtight at times. Some good moments but the opposition was just too good. 6

9 Gus Warr: As he has done all season, Warr kicked well during his 51-minute shift. Made the most of Saracens rolling away the wrong way to earn a penalty early on to level the scores quickly after Saracens went ahead. Warr offered little in snipes around the fringes and got caught up once or twice in breakdowns he shouldn’t have, but solid nonetheless. 6

Big performances from the pack

8 Jono Ross: A Premiership title would have been just reward for his service to Sale, but it wasn’t to be for Ross in his final game. It was a classic performance from the South African who didn’t give an inch on defence and carried strongly. 6

7 Sam Dugdale: The 23-year-old was Sale’s busiest tackler in the game and pestered the breakdown with little success. He stepped up to the mark with the injuries in the Sharks’ squad and produced a respectable performance. 6

6 Tom Curry: Admirable exploits in dealing with the protesters but conceded a penalty try almost immediately afterwards. Curry made the most metres by a forward in the match and landed some good shots on defence. His penalty try hurts his rating, but he was excellent for the other 70 minutes. 7

5 Jonny Hill: The second-rower stepped up to the Saracens pack’s physical challenge and defended superbly. He drove players backwards early on but was still guilty of some soft penalties. 7

4 Jean-Luc du Preez: A relentless and combative 73-minute performance from the Springbok. As per usual, he was impactful on both sides of the ball and in the breakdown. 7

Front-row dominance

3 Nick Schonert: Part of the dominant Sale scrum in the first half. He landed some good shots on defence and was more involved in clearing out rucks on attack than carrying. 6

2 Akker van der Merwe: A handful for Saracens’ defence gaining over 40 metres and beating six defenders. He had one or two wobbles with his lineout throws but an okay in the set-piece in the end. The scrums were dominant with him in the middle. His kick wasn’t his best, but it worked, and he will be bragging about it. 7

1 Simon McIntyre: He was penalised during one of the earlier scrums but recovered well and would gain the upper hand over Marco Riccioni in the set-piece. He threw his weight around well in defence but was dealt with easily with ball in hand. 6

Replacements: Bevan Rodd was the standout from the bench, scoring shortly after his injection into the game. Raffi Quirke attempted to take the tempo to another level while Tom O’Flaherty had some good moments, but in the end, the Saracens bench was more impactful. 5

READ MORE: Saracens make it Premiership title number six as they battle past Sale Sharks in gripping final