Oct 18, 2015
Saracens 41 - 3 Sale
Saracens stormed to a 41-3 bonus point at Allianz Park win as they started the Aviva Premiership title defence in style against Sale Sharks this afternoon.
New-signing Mike Rhodes crossed for a debut try, whilst giant wing Mike Ellery crossed for a brace on his first Premiership outing. Centre Tim Streather wriggled over for a well taken try, whilst returning loose forward Will Fraser burrowed over for a late score.
Mark McCall’s side were dominant throughout. The Sarries director of rugby was able to welcome back England internationals Jamie George and Alex Goode into his starting line-up and Mako Vunipola and George Kruis named on the bench for the opening fixture of the 2015/16 season, with hooker George producing a Man of the Match performance. George was superb throughout his 67 minutes on the field. His lineout throws consistently found his man, he was at his industrious best around the field, and was at the fulcrum of an impressive pack display that cut the Sharks to ribbons.
Saracens immediately underlined their supremacy when debutant Michael Rhodes crossed the games first try. The abrasive South African loose-forward patiently waited on the back of a destructive rolling maul that splintered the Sale defence to dot the ball down after just after three minutes of play. Saracens fly-half Hodgson converted to give Saracens a 7-0 lead and then sent over a penalty to extend the north Londoners lead to ten points.
Sale hit back with a Danny Cipriani penalty in the 18th minute, but the rest of the afternoon belonged to Saracens.
The double-winners began to go through the gears. Charlie Hodgson sent over a penalty after the Saracens scrum forced Sale into conceding penalty, and when Tim Streather danced his way out of two Sale defenders to score in the 28th minute, the writing was on the wall for Steve Diamond’s charges.
Sarries were enjoying themselves. Alex Goode and Charlie Hodgson shared the play-making duties to great effect, with the silky Goode in particular causing Sale untold problems popping up as second receiver on many occasions. It would be Hodgson and Goode who would be the architects of Sarries third try of the afternoon when they released Mike Ellery down the left wing for the former England 7s stars first Premiership try for the club. Hodgson converted right on the stroke of half-time to give Sarries a 27-3 lead at the break.
The half-time break provided Sale with little respite. Saracens weathered an early Sharks storm in the first ten minutes of the half, in a period of play that would ultimately frustrate them. Saracens were next to score when Mike Ellery doubled his tally, collecting a cute inside ball from replacement half-back Ben Spencer to wrap up the try scoring bonus point – Hodgson duly converted.
Saracens rotated their players, by introducing their bench with Will Fraser’s cameo in particular drawing the loudest applause from the Allianz Park faithful.
After his injury trials and tribulations no-one would begrudge the rugby gods smiling of the 25-year old loose-forward, and smile they did with Fraser scoring the games final try in the 75th minute. Alex Goode added the extras as Saracens began their 2015/16 Aviva Premiership campaign with a bang.
Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall: “We are obviously very pleased with the result but the standard of our performance is even more pleasing. I think today was all about getting our fundamentals of our game at a decent level and I thought we did that. Defensively we did really well and we were able to attack from that – it wasn’t the score line we were expecting, but we played pretty well.”
Saracens Man of the Match, Jamie George: “We wanted to set our stall out from the start of this season. We’re very pleased with the result and the performance overall, so to get a bonus point win at the start of the season is pretty good start.”
Sale Sharks director of rugby, Steve Diamond: “It was one of those days. We got drilled at the scrums and couldn’t get any momentum or ball, but we did improve a bit in the second half.”