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Saracens 32 Sale Sharks 12

06 Jan 2013
Saracens 32 Sale Sharks 12

England fly-half Owen Farrell kicked 22 points and Charlie Hodgson came off the bench to haunt his former club as Saracens eased to victory against bottom club Sale Sharks in the last-ever Aviva Premiership match to be played at Vicarage Road.

Farrell hammered over eight kicks from eight attempts as second-half tries by David Strettle and Hodgson helped move Sarries to a comfortable win.

The Sharks remain five points behind London Irish at the foot of the table and only had four Danny Cipriani penalties to show for their efforts.

However, the Sharks started the game on the front foot and led within five minutes thanks to Cipriani’s penalty.

And just after the restart, the fly-half was fortunate when his kick from inside the 22 was charged down by George Kruis only for the ball to bounce over the dead ball line.

But Cipriani soon doubled the Sharks’ lead when he belted over a terrific penalty from just inside his own half, although Saracens were to halve to deficit through Farrell.

Five minutes later, Farrell brought the score level with another penalty, left-of-centre on the 22-metre line, after James Gaskell was penalised for not rolling away.

It was all Sarries at this point and they soon led for the first time with Farrell again deadly from the kicking tee, making a shot from 40 metres look like child’s play.

The England man then repeated the trick just a couple of minutes later to extend the gap to six points, with Sale’s discipline letting them down.

They were to gift Farrell another shot at goal in the 28th minute – one which he didn’t pass up and despite not threatening the Sale tryline, Saracens found themselves 15-6 up at half-time.

Eleven minutes into the second half, Cipriani brought his team back within six points with a penalty made all the more kickable thanks to some Saracens backchat.

But within two minutes, those points were rendered meaningless with Farrell again making it look easy with his sixth penalty, taken from just inside the Sale half.

Cipriani was to boot the visitors back within touching distance with an excellent strike from the half-way line – even if it did strike both posts before dropping over.

However, Saracens took a huge step towards victory in the 63rd minute – just after bringing on former Shark Hodgson.

A strong scrum led to Richard Wigglesworth passing to Hodgson, who with his first touch gave a quick pass to allow Strettle to sprint in under the posts, giving Farrell an easy conversion.

The result was made safe with ten minutes left and it was roles reversed from the first try as Strettle’s deft grubber was simple for Hodgson to pick up and score, Farrell again adding the extras.

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