Match Centre: Gallagher Premiership: Sale 22-20 Saracens

Agustin Creevy was one of the try scorer for Sale Sharks
Agustin Creevy was one of the try scorer for Sale Sharks
©Steve Haag

Sale 22-20 Saracens, Salford Community Stadium

Sale Sharks managed to hold off Saracens as they sealed a thrilling 22-20 victory in the latest round of the Gallagher Premiership at Salford Community Stadium on Friday.

This is seventh win for Sale in seven games as they are at the top of the table with 31 points while Saracens with their fourth defeat are at fourth place with 26 points.

Saracens got the first points in the 12th minute when Maro Itoje forced an error from Sale Sharks and Owen Farrell kicked in front of the posts to make it 0-3.

The response from Sale came inside the end of the opening quarter as Agustin Creevy collected the ball from the base of a ruck after Saracens kicked a penalty to the corner and George Ford landed the conversion to make it 7-3.

Nevertheless, Mark McCall's men seized the lead back before the end of the opening half with this time as Ford looked to make a back pass that was intercepted by Ivan van Zyl, who touched down and Farrell was spot on with the conversion as the teams completed the opening half with a 7-10 scoreline.

Sale's only injury concern in the game was Manu Tuilagi not coming to the field after the break due to a groin injury but they were the quickest to get off the block in the second half as Tom Roebuck dived in the corner for their second try but Ford missed out on the conversion making it 12-10.

The 47th minute saw Saracens down to 14 players temporarily with Alec Clarey sin binned for a high tackle after which Luke Cowan-Dickie powered over at the back of a driving maul and Ford's conversion made it 19-10. As Farrell and Ford traded penalties the gap between the teams remained at nine points.

With 15 minutes left in the game, the visitors clawed their way back with replacement scrum-half Gareth Simpson dived in the corner and Farrell kicked the conversion to make it 22-20. Ford had a chance to extend the winning margin but his penalty kick in the 77th minute drifted wide but Sale will be relieved to get away with a two-point victory.

Team line up:

Sale: Carpenter; Roebuck, R du Preez, Tuilagi, Reed; Ford, Warr; Harrison, Creevy, Schonert, Wiese, Hill, van Rhyn, B Curry (c), JL du Preez.

Reserves: Cowan-Dickie, Onasanya, Opoku-Fordjour, Beaumont, Dugdale, Thomas, James, Bedlow.

Saracens: Goode; Cinti, Tompkins, Hartley, Maitland; Farrell (c), van Zyl; Mako Vunipola, George, Clarey, Itoje, McFarland, Gonzalez, Christie, B Vunipola.

Reserves: Dan, West, Mulipola, Tizard, Knight, Simpson, Manu Vunipola, Parton.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

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