Saracens may have been unable to call on some of their internationals but director of rugby Mark McCall paid tribute to the stalwarts who guided his side past Sale Sharks.
Sale skipper Josh Beaumont’s try saw the hosts take a lead into the second quarter – but Saracens took over from there.
Marcelo Bosch’s converted try, allied to two penalties from Alex Lozowski, saw the away side take in a 13-7 lead before Matt Gallagher helped them streak clear early in the second half.
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) November 20, 2016
Ben Spencer then capped a fine team performance with a breakaway try ten minutes from time to hand Saracens a 28-13 win, though McCall was keen to draw attention to the unsung heroes on the day.
“It was great because a lot of our experienced players were outstanding: Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger, Brad Barritt,” said McCall. “I could name quite a few of them.
“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 every week.
“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.”
Lozowski had already proven he could fill Owen Farrell’s boots at fly-half after covering for the England man while he was injured at the start of the season.
The 23-year-old added 13 points with the boot and released Spencer for Saracens’ third and final try.
“He looked really sharp out there. He ran the ball beautifully and passed well so he’s a good player,” added McCall.
“We got a couple of long-range tries out there, but we were alive to the situation and capitalised.”
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) November 20, 2016
Sale missed a chance to move into Aviva Premiership Rugby’s top four and director of rugby Steve Diamond had no complaints over the result.
“We looked like we tried a little bit too hard and we gave a lot of penalties away in the first half,” Diamond said. “We just needed some composure.
“I thought we were beaten by the better side. We trained well all week but we didn’t really convert those training sessions into a performance.”
Sale: Haley; Addison (Arscott 66), James, Tuitupou (Jennings 52), Odogwu; MacGinty, Stringer (Phillips 52); Harrison (Flynn 72), Briggs (Webber 66), Mujati (Aulika 55); Evans, Ostrikov; Neild (Ioane 52), Seymour (Curry 66), Beaumont
Saracens: Fenby; Ellery, Bosch (Tompkins 66), Barritt, Wyles (Gallgher 41); Lozowski, Wigglesworth (Spencer 59); Barrington (Lamositele 52), Brits (Spurling 73), Figallo (Du Plessis 47); Rhodes, Hamilton (Flanagan 73); Brown (Conlon 65), Burger, Wray.
Penalties: MacGinty 2
Tries: Bosch, Gallagher, Spencer
Conversions: Lozowski 2
Penalties: Lozowski 3
Referee: Andrew Jackson