Nov 30, 2013
Kruis the match winner as Saracens see off Sale
Saracens eventually overcame a stubborn Sale Sharks team with second-row forward George Kruis scoring the match winning try.
Charlie Hodgson scored 14 points, with Premiership debutant Jack Wilson crossing the whitewash in 45th minute as Saracens maintained their 100% regualr season record at Allianz Park
Saracens endured a frustrating first half that was unfortunately overshadowed by what looks to be a serious leg injury to flanker Will Fraser.
After one minute Saracens were on the scoreboard, Charlie Hodgson slotted over a routine penalty after Sale captain Daniel Braid was ruled to be offside at the ruck.
Sale though frustrated the home side with some dogged defence, whilst former Wasps star Danny Cipriani pulled the strings for the visitors with a series of inventive kicks and passes; and it was Cipriani who scored the game’s first try.
Saracens turned over Sale in their own 22 metre zone, and sensing a chance to counter Neil de Kock supplied second-rower Kruis, who under pressure from some tenacious Sharks defence spilled the ball. Sale winger Charlie Ingall swooped on the errant spillage and fed Cipriani who waltz over to score and convert his own try.
Sale looked good value for their lead, as Saracens (who were playing into a strong wind) continued to test their back three with a series of high kicks but struggled to maintain a foothold in the game. As the half wore on the game was stopped for some time as flanker Will Fraser left the pitch with what looked like a serious leg injury.
During the stoppage Saracens seemed to use their time well and responded with some tenacious defending that pinned Sale back into their half. First it was a chase and charge down from Chris Wyles that put the Sharks under pressure, then Charlie Hodgson followed suit with a charge down of Rob Miller’s kick.
Sale conceded a penalty not long after, which Hodgson dispatched, then Sale full back Ron Miller dispatched a stunning 54 metre penalty to re-establish his sides lead just a minute after Hodgson’s kick. Just before the half time whistle Cipriani added a cheeky drop goal to make the scores 6-13 to the visitors at the break.
Saracens looked much stronger in the second half, as Schalk Brits looked to take it upon himself to puncture the Sale Sharks defensive line continuously, with a series of strong carries It wasn’t long until Saracens much improved performance paid dividends, as Premiership debutant Jack Wilson crossed for his first Premiership try of his career and in the process scoring his third in as many starts. After the Saracens driving maul sucked in the Sale forwards a quick switch from Hodgson fed the New Zealand 7s winger who spotted a half gap to score.
Sale hit back with a penalty of their own via Danny Cipriani’s boot, then it was his opposite number Charlie Hodgson turn, with the ex-Shark responding with another penalty after a Sale Sharks try was correctly ruled out for a knock on during the build-up.
Sale were now leading by three points but their lead was living a charmed life and it wasn't a surprise when second rower George Kruis crossed for what proved to be the match winning score. Saracens were camped out on the Sharks line and after numerous phases the hard working lock forward plunged over the line to score in the left hand corner – Hodgson expertly converted.
As the game petered out Hodgson added another penalty before Sharks replacement Nick MacLeod booted a last second penalty to earn the visitors a well-deserved losing bonus point.