Premiership: Saracens 29-18 Sale Sharks

Chris Ashton
Chris Ashton was instrumental in the win, scoring a try and playing a part in another
Aviva Premiership
Saracens (21) 29
Tries: Taylor, Ashton, Earle Cons: Lozowski Pens: Lozowski 4
Sale (6) 18
Tries: Lund, Neild Cons: MacGinty Pens: Addison, MacGinty

Saracens showed resilience to pick up their first Premiership win in four games against Sale and move within two points of leaders Wasps.

Duncan Taylor went over out wide and Chris Ashton finished a fine move as Sarries held a 15-point half-time lead.

However the visitors built pressure and responded when Sam James kicked through brilliantly for Magnus Lund to score.

Ashton and Brad Barritt fed Nathan Earle to touch down for the hosts and Cameron Neild got a consolation try.

Despite victory, Mark McCall's side drop to third after Exeter picked up a bonus point in their win over Newcastle.

Sale, 10th in the table and with boss Steve Diamond serving the first match of his touchline ban, had won their past five games in all competitions and saw back Will Addison hobble off early on.

Taylor's try came on his return to the Saracens side after injury, though neither side could find a bonus point in the closing stages.

Premiership champions Sarries, without 10 players through Six Nations duty or injury, had lost two and drawn the other of their last three Premiership games, but have now beaten Sale in all four of their meetings this season.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:

"If you finish top, it's a feather in the cap for the squad. There is definitely something to celebrate when you finish top. It means you have been the most consistent team over 22 games.

"Hopefully we will be there or thereabouts at the end. But that extra point could mean a lot in the final outcome.

"Sale probably thought we were vulnerable and they came back at us. We are a bit disappointed that we couldn't get a fourth try but we would have taken four points before the game."

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:

"We were out-gunned and out-streetwised by Saracens. As you know, coming to this place, if you give them opportunities, they will take them.

"But in the second-half, we did really well. There were a couple of errors and a couple of decisions didn't go our way but that's the way it goes.

"We have had a good couple of months and I thought we might have been good enough to get a bonus point, but we were just weren't."

Saracens: Taylor; Ashton, Bosch, Barritt (capt), Earle; Lozowski, Wigglesworth; Lamositele, Brits, Figallo, Rhodes, Hamilton, Brown, Conlon, Wray.

Replacements: Saunders, Barrington, Du Plessis, Flanagan, Vunisa, Spencer, Malins, Gallagher.

Sale: Haley; Solomona, Addison (capt), Jennings, Charnley; James, Phillips; Harrison, Webber, Aulika, Evans, Nott, Ioane, Lund, Beaumont.

Replacements: Nield, Flynn, Longbottom, T Curry, Seymour, Stringer, MacGinty, Leota.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth.

For the latest rugby union news follow @bbcrugbyunion on Twitter.

Top Stories