Premiership: Sale Sharks 13-28 Saracens
|Sale (7) 13|
|Try: Beaumont Con: MacGinty Pens: MacGinty 2|
|Saracens (13) 28|
|Tries: Bosch, Gallagher, Spencer Cons: Lozowski 2 Pens: Lozowski 3|
Saracens returned to the top of the Premiership after winning at Sale.
The hosts led 7-3 midway through the first half courtesy of Josh Beaumont's converted try but Sarries replied through Marcelo Bosch's score and a penalty from Alex Lozowski.
Saracens extended their lead after the break when Matt Gallagher went over and, after AJ MacGinty and Lozowski traded penalties, Sale lost momentum.
Ben Spencer's breakaway try with 10 minutes remaining sealed victory.
Saracens, without injured locks Maro Itoje and George Kruis and several key players because of international commitments, were clinical when chances came their way at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Two breakaway second-half tries made the game comfortable, as Schalk Brits intercepted a line-out to help set up Gallagher for his first senior try soon after the break and Spencer raced away after gathering an offload from Lozowski.
Sale's hopes of a comeback had been dented when Halani Aulika was sent to the bin for swinging an arm at Jim Hamilton, although Sarries lock Michael Rhodes later saw yellow for a high tackle.
Premiership and European champions Saracens have only lost one of their last 11 league meetings with the Sharks, and Mark McCall's side now have a three-point lead over second-placed Bath.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond: "We looked like we tried a little bit too hard and we gave a lot of penalties away in the first half.
"We just needed some composure and I thought we were beaten by the better side.
"We've just got to apply ourselves and come with the right mentality.
"One or two of our players are probably thinking that they're a little bit better than they are at the minute."
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall: "It was great because a lot of our experienced players were outstanding today: Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger and Brad Barritt.
"We were really pleased to pick up the points and really pleased with a lot of aspects of the performance, in terms of the qualities we want to show.
"Our maul defence five metres from our line was outstanding.
"It's normally a big strength of theirs but Jim Hamilton and the rest of the forwards did a great job."
Sale Sharks: Haley; Addison, James, Tuitupou, Odogwu; MacGinty, Stringer; Harrison, Briggs, Mujati, Evans, Ostrikov, Neild, Seymour, Beaumont (capt).
Replacements: Webber, Flynn, Aulika, Ioane, B Curry, Phillips, Jennings, Arscott.
Sin Bin: Aulika (59).
Saracens: Fenby; Ellery, Bosch, Barritt (capt), Wyles; Lozowski, Wigglesworth; Barrington, Brits, Figallo, Rhodes, Hamilton, Brown, Burger, Wray.
Replacements: Spurling, Lamositele, Du Plessis, Flanagan, Conlon, Spencer, Tompkins, Gallagher.
Sin Bin: Rhodes (67).
Referee: Andrew Jackson.
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