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Match Report: Saracens 41 Sale Sharks 3

17 Oct 2015
Match Report: Saracens 41 Sale Sharks 3

Mike Ellery surged into the spotlight at Allianz Park after the winger’s try-double helped Saracens get their Aviva Premiership Rugby defence off to a flying start.

Following David Strettle’s departure over the summer there is a clear space for a Sarries man to stake their claim for further first-team action on the wing – and former England 7s international Ellery did just that.
 
He touched down in either half after debutant Michael Rhodes got things pointed in the right direction for Mark McCall’s men with a fourth-minute try.
 
Outside centre Tim Streather also crossed before Ellery came alive, but the win also owes much to Charlie Hodgson – the former England fly-half opened up a number of holes and kicked 14 points from the tee.

And the fit-again Will Fraser added the gloss late on with Saracens' fifth try after another surge from the pack.
 
Sale Sharks did stem the tide somewhat in the second half, but only had one Danny Cipriani penalty before the break to show for their efforts.
 
Saracens may be the defending champions but their last outing at Allianz Park in Aviva Premiership Rugby ended in a loss to Exeter Chiefs.
 
But they certainly wouldn’t be caught cold from the off here, as Sale lost a line-out and Saracens charged forward through Jamie George and Chris Ashton.
 
There was just four minutes on the clock when new lock Rhodes, who had been drafted in from the Stormers over the summer, touched down off the back of an inexorable rolling maul.
 
Hodgson added the extras and Saracens remained on the ascendancy, with Sharks full-back Mike Haley needing to be on his toes to sniff out the danger of a Duncan Taylor grubber kick.
 
After that initial 15-minute flurry, Sale wrestled back some of the momentum before Hodgson and Cipriani traded penalties after two infringements at the ruck.
 
However, Sarries are nothing if not clinical and the power of their pack forced the ball deep into the red zone once more – Streather reaping the rewards after wrestling out of a Will Addison tackle and crossing over.
 
Hodgson’s conversion extended the hosts’ lead out to 17 points with more than a half an hour gone and it was already looking a long way back for Sale.
 
The Sharks nearly countered immediately after a lightning break from deep in their own half but new signing Bryn Evans fumbled at the crucial moment.
 
And Sarries put yet more points on the board in the final attack before half-time, Hodgson and Alex Goode combining to superb effect before Ellery – on his first Aviva Premiership Rugby appearance – dived over. Hodgson promptly made it five successful kicks from five.
 
To their credit Sale emerged from the break fired up though when Cipriani kicked to the corner after they won a penalty, Saracens stole the five-metre line-out.
 
Sale’s new prop, South Africa international Brian Mujati, then showed a surprising turn of pace in launching a counter-attack but inaccuracies continued to cost the visitors dearly – leading to another Saracens penalty.
 
With 20 minutes left to play the only matter to resolve was the try-bonus point and after a reverse pass from replacement scrum-half Ben Spencer, Ellery stormed over for his second try of the day.
 
Another new signing in hooker Dave Porecki also made a late surge to the delight of Allianz Park but the biggest roar was saved for Fraser – who crossed on his comeback game following a back injury.

The back-rower, who came on as a replacement, benefited after some more brilliant work from Sarries’ pack to cross with six minutes left on the clock.

To see all of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby Season fixtures, please click here #AvivaPrem

 

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