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Saracens all shook up by Sale

25 Sep 2005
Saracens all shook up by Sale

While all eyes might have been on Robinson following last night’s announcement he was turning his back on Twickenham to spend more time with his family, attention soon turned to the action on the field as both sides scored four tries apiece.

Joining Seveali’i on Sale’s scoresheet was French number eight Sebastien Chabal, while England winger Mark Cueto also touched down, equalling the league record of breaching the whitewash in eight successive matches.

Three of their tries owed everything to some atrocious tackling from Saracens but the home side could take heart from two stirring second-half fightbacks at points when they looked dead and buried.

Kevin Sorrell, Kris Chesney, Adam Powell and Dan Scarbrough ran in tries for Steve Diamond’s side with the boot of Glen Jackson doing the rest.

Jackson missed just one shot at goal but the Kiwi fly-half was outshone by his opposite number Charlie Hodgson who did not miss a single shot at goal in eight attempts.

A Hodgson penalty began the scoring following a competitive opening 10 minutes which saw both sides enjoy attacking flourishes.

Sale should have extended their lead in the 16th minute when swift hands and an inside pass from Daniel Larrechea released Cueto who forced his way to within two metres of the home line.

The Sharks recycled but French scrum-half Valentin Courrent made a hash of his pass and Saracens were able to escape.

It proved a costly blunder as Diamond’s side worked their way downfield with Thomas Castaignede and Iain Fullarton prominent before making the crucial breakthrough in the 21st minute.

Jackson’s delayed pass to Sorrell was sweetly timed with the 28-year-old centre hitting the line at pace and easily skipping around a disappointing tackle from Larrechea. Jackson added the conversion.

Sale were penalised as Saracens attacked with Robinson warned over his side’s discipline by referee Chris White and Jackson made no mistake with the penalty.

Stung into action, the Sharks crossed through Seveali’i in the 35th minute with the Samoan centre bursting through a lacklustre posse of three tacklers and touching down under the posts.

It was a shocking score for Saracens to concede – possession came from a swiftly-won line-out – and Hodgson rubbed salt into the wound by landing the conversion and his third penalty.

Saracens were shoved backwards at an alarming rate in first-half injury time but rescued the situation, breaking out with a neat show of hands from Randell and Alex Sanderson.

Sale tightened their stranglehold on the game in the 49th minute when they fed Chabal at the back of a line-out and the French number eight broke three tackles before barging his way over.

Saracens’ criminal defending was responsible for the next try three minute later with Seveali’i allowed to run to the line without ever being troubled.

Hodgson converted both tries before Saracens hit back with a robust effort from substitute lock Kris Chesney with Jackson improving the score and slotting a penalty.

The home side, cheered on by a noisy crowd, had their tails up now and further reduced the deficit with substitute Adam Powell diving in at the right corner after a sweeping move.

Inevitably Jackson added the extras but Hodgson settled Sale’s nerves with a penalty and then the visitors struck the killer blow, Cueto crossing after good work from David Seymour.

Hodgson converted before Scarbrough reduced the deficit with a try in the corner, but Saracens had left themselves with too much to do and their brave fightback ended in failure.

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