Former Sale Sharks fly-half Charlie Hodgson ruined his old club’s first day at their new multi-million pound stadium with an imperious display as Saracens dispatched the home side 23-16 in the Aviva Premiership.
The 31-year-old who moved south last season after ten years with Sale scored 18 points at the Salford City Stadium while England winger Chris Ashton also chipped in with his third try in his first two games with the club.
Danny Cipriani was impressive with the boot for his new side as he scored 11 points and despite the defeat, the Sharks looked massively improved from their 43-6 humbling by Exeter last time out – although it is now just one win in nine against Saracens for Sale
Cipriani scored his first points on his return to England to put Sale into an early 3-0 lead but Hodgson equalled the scores ten minutes later.
Saracens made some excellent breaks into the Sale half and forced another penalty which the sturdy Hodgson coolly dispatched.
The first try-line action saw Brad Barritt knock on when going over the whitewash for a seemingly nailed on try around the half-hour mark.
Cipriani then scored a penalty with the last kick of the first half but despite the 12-9 scoreline suggesting the gap between the two sides was small Saracens had been fairly dominant.
But the visiting side were punished for not turning their dominance into points when Will Addison stole the ball from Fraser and ran the length of the pitch to score the first try of the game at the start of the second period.
The game settled down mid-way through the second-half as Sale matched their rivals although another excellent kick from Hodgson took them to within a point of each other, Sale leading 16-15.
And just minutes later on the hour mark Chris Ashton made it three tries in two games in front of watching England coach Stuart Lancaster to put the London side back in front.
Sale looked to have had the stuffing knocked out of them with the try from Ashton and struggled to really give Saracens too much trouble in their own half.
A barrage of Saracens attacks in the first half looked to have taken its toll as Sale looked drained in the last ten minutes as Mark McCall’s men ran down the clock to secure the win.