Feb 16, 2018
Saracens claim win over Sale Sharks in tight encounter at the AJ Bell
On a freezing night in Manchester Saracens edged out Sale Sharks by 13 points to 3 in a fiercely tight encounter at the AJ Bell Stadium. A Liam Williams effort was the only try of the night while points from the boot of Ben Spencer allowed Saracens to extend their lead as they frustrated their hosts.
It was a tight opening forty at the AJ Bell and while both sides created opportunities it was Saracens who claimed the first score of the evening. The visitors had enjoyed a period of excellent possession, patiently wearing down a solid Sale defence, before Liam Williams opened the scoring on the 13th minute. A feed from Marcelo Bosch set up the Welshman who exploited a rare gap in the home side’s defence with a quick show of pace before sprinting away and diving over the line. Spencer converted to give Saracens a 0-7 lead.
The half remained a tightly fought affair and it was not until just after the half hour mark that Sale claimed their first points of the evening. Sarries were penalised in their 22 and Faf de Klerk stepped up to kick off the scoring for the home side. Frustrations were evident on both sides though and the penalty also resulted in a yellow card for both Liam Williams and Sale’s Rob Webber who failed to see eye to eye following the ref’s decision.
With the clock winding down Saracens made a final foray in to the Sharks 22 as they looked to extent their lead before the break. With just a minute left in the half Sharks were penalised for offside, setting up a straightforward penalty kick in front of the posts for Ben Spencer. The scrum half’s kick hit the target and Saracens stretched their lead to 3-10 at the half way point.
The second half was another close fought affair. Physical performances on both sides restricted opportunities although there were some bright moments in attack from Saracens with breaks from Chris Wyles and Jackson Wray sparking two nice periods of play. The north Londoners were effective in defence too, closing down the Sharks again and again. Saracens extended their lead on the 50 minute mark when Ben Spencer’s reliable boot added another three points for the north Londoners to make the score 3-13 to the visitors.
Spencer’s penalty proved to be the only points of the half as errors crept in to the games of both sides and the game turned somewhat scrappy as the final whistle approached. Saracens closed out the win 3-13, securing an important away win at a tough ground and against a steely opposition.
- Alex Goode; 14. Liam Williams; 13. Marcelo Bosch; 12. Brad Barritt;11. Chris Wyles;10. Alex Lozowski; 9. Ben Spencer; 1. Richard Barrington( Thompson-Stringer 75'); 2. Christopher Tolofua( Spurling 73');3. Juan Figallo; 4. Nick Isiekwe; 5. George Kruis; 6. Calum Clark; 7. Schalk Burger;8. Jackson Wray;
Replacements:16. Scott Spurling; 17. Hayden Thompson-Stringer; 18. Kieran Longbottom; 19. Mark Flanagan; 20. Ben Earl; 21. Tom Whiteley;22. Max Malins; 23. Nathan Earle:
Scores Tries Williams(13'),
Penalties Spencer 2/3
Yellow card Williams(32')
15.Mike Haley; 14.Denny Solomona, 13.Will Addison (capt), 12. Mark Jennings, 11. Marland Yarde; 10.Sam James, 9.Faf De Klerk; 1.Ross Harrison, 2.Rob Webber, 3.WillGriff John, 4.Josh Beaumont, 5.Andrei Ostrikov, 6.Jono Ross, 7.Ben Curry, 8.Josh Strauss.
Replacements: 16.Marc Jones, 17.James Flynn, 18.Halani Aulika, 19. George Nott, 20.Cameron Neild, 21.Will Cliff, 22.Luke James, 23.Josh Charnley
Penalty De Klerk
Yellow card Webber(32')
Man of the Match Juan Figallo