Feb 25, 2017
Saracens return to winning ways with 29-18 win over Sale Sharks
Saracens returned to winning ways with a 29-18 victory over Sale Sharks at a rainy Allianz Park.
First half tries from Duncan Taylor and Chris Ashton put Saracens in the driving seat at the break; Sale responding through the boots of Will Addison and AJ McGinty who kicked a penalty apiece.
The Sharks struck first after the break through Magnus Lund but the boot of Alex Lozowski paired with a 67th minute try from Nathan Earle ensured a home victory for the North Londoners.
It was the visitors who took an early lead at Allianz Park through the boot of Addison who duly punished the hosts after they played the ball in the ruck with just a minute on the clock
The first try of the match went the way of Saracens however, Duncan Taylor marking his return to the side with a try. The Scotland international exploited the overlap out wide after 13 minutes after an Ashton chip and chase forced Sale into conceding a scrum five metres out.
A scuffle betweem Jim Hamilton and his opposite number George Knott allowed early replacement McGinty to nudge Sale back ahead with a penalty attempt but their lead was short-lived, Alex Lozowski cancelling out the effort just moments later.
Saracens’ second try of the match soon followed when Richard Wigglesworth’s kick ahead was gathered by Chris Ashton, the winger spinning his way past the Sale defence and over the line. Lozowski duly added the extras making the score 15-6 to the hosts mid-way through the first half.
Lozowski kept the scoreboard ticking over for the home side as the half drew to a close punishing the Sharks indiscipline in their own half, two penalties from the fly-half ensuring Saracens were in the driving seat at the break at 21-6 up.
Saracens started the second forty brightly, winning back the restart before winning a scrum five metres out when Taylor forced Denny Solomona to touch the ball down over his own line. Saracens won the penalty from the scrum and opted to kick into the corner but the lineout went awry allowing Sale to clear their lines.
It was then Sale’s turn to pile the pressure on their opponents as Steve Diamond’s men kicked a series of penalties inside the Saracens 22 into the corner. The Saracens defence held firm as their visitors failed to convert their host of chances before being called up for an accidental offside five metres out.
The hosts hadn’t weathered the storm however, Lund hitting back with a well-deserved try for the Sharks on 56 minutes. McGinty, the creator of the score with a deft grubber through, adding the extras to reduce the deficit to eight points.
Lozowski slotted his fourth penalty of the afternoon to take the score to 24-13 with just under quarter of an hour left to play but it was not long before Saracens struck with their third try of the match. Nathan Earle showcasing his pace and exploiting the space left out wide thanks to superb build-up play from his fellow wing Ashton.
With just six minutes remaining on the clock Cameron Neild powered over for the visitors but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation score for the Sharks as Saracens secured the 29-18 victory in front of a 9,600 strong crowd at Allianz Park.
SARACENS: 15 Duncan Taylor; 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch (Barritt 78’), 12 Brad Barritt (c) (Gallagher 73’), 11 Nathan Earle; 10 Alex Lozowski (Malins 77’), 9 Richard Wigglesworth (Spencer 69’); 1 Titi Lamositele (Barrington 52’), 2 Schalk Brits (Saunders 71’), 3 Juan Figallo (Du Plessis 63’), 4 Michael Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton (Flanagan 75’); 6 Kelly Brown (Vunisa 73’) , 7 Joel Conlon, 8 Jackson Wray.
REPLACEMENTS: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Samu Vunisa, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Max Malins, 23 Matt Gallagher
Tries: Taylor (12’), Ashton (19’), Earle (67’)
Conversions: Lozowski (1/3)
SALE SHARKS: 15 Mike Haley; 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Will Addison (c), 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Josh Charnley; 10 Sam James, 9 Mike Phillips; 1 Ross Harrison, 2 Rob Webber, 3 Halani Aulika; 4 Bryn Evans, 5 George Nott; 6 TJ Ioane, 7 Magnus Lund, 8 Josh Beaumont
REPLACEMENTS: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Tom Curry, 20 David Seymour, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Johnny Leota
Tries: Lund, Neild
Conversions: MacGinty (1/2)
Penalties: Addison, MacGinty
Man of the Match: Joel Conlon