Jamal Niaz rugby union
The Sharks wasted no time settling into the game and made an immediate impact, as Denny Solomona crashed over for a first-minute try in his return to the side. Rob du Preez added the extras as the home side sent a clear message of attacking intent to the inexperienced Sarries side from the get go.
A dropped ball from Saracens wasn’t to go unpunished in the 15th minute, as Jono Ross set Marland Yarde free, and the winger used his blistering pace to draw his man and send Will Cliff clear through for the second try of the night. Rob du Preez made no mistake with the follow up, and Sale were cruising with a 14-0 lead after an explosive opening 15 minutes.
Things went from bad to worse for the away side, as a line-out move straight off the training ground sent Ben Curry over unchallenged, and Rob du Preez was on the money with the conversion again.
Despite the efforts of Saracens’ attempts to find an answer and gather some momentum at the close of the first half, their threats were thwarted comfortably by the Sale defence and the score-line remained unchanged at half-time.
The away side continued to hunt for their first try in the opening ten minutes of the second half, as Saracens had the majority of possession in this period, but failed to find a break through.
Saracens’ persistence in their attacking pursuits eventually paid off as Segun intercepted Will Cliff’s offload and ran in to score. Whitely converted and the away side reduced the deficit to 14 points.
The conceded try seemed to re-awaken Sale, with Akker van der Merwe re-establishing the Sharks’ lead, as he charged through the Sarries defence to go over. Rob du Preez added the extras.
No further scores were added from either side before full-time, and Sale go on to face Harlequins in the final at the AJ Bell on March 15th as they get one step closer to a first major trophy since 2006.
Steve Diamond gave his post-match reaction and discussed the depth of talent in the squad, that has been so crucial to the success of the side so far this year:
“Yeah pleased to get the win. I think we made hard work of it in a couple of areas, but maybe that’s what you get when you give them a week off. Saracens put a mixed squad together who are always going to fight for stuff, but we got the win”
“We’ve got a lot of good players, the du Preez twins are good carriers as are the Curry twins. We’ve got a good squad, just get the cohesion there and we’ll go alright”
Sale return to Premiership action this weekend as they play Saracens for the second week in a row, this time at the Allianz Park. We hope to see the Sharks’ great form continue and wish the lads the best of luck.
Attendance - 7,992
Sale Sharks Starting XV:
15. Simon Hammersley, 14. Denny Solomona, 13, Sam James, 12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11. Marland Yarde, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Will Cliff; 1. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Rob Webber, 3. Jake Cooper-Woolley, 4. Bryn Evans, 5. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Jono Ross (Capt.) 7. Ben Curry, 8. Daniel du Preez.
16. Akker van der Merwe, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Will-Griff John, 19. James Phillips, 20. Mark Wilson, 21. Gus Warr, 22. Tom Curtis, 23. Luke James.
Saracens Starting XV:
15. Matt Gallagher, 14. Ali Crossdale, 13. Duncan Taylor, 12. Dom Morris, 11. Elliot Obatoyinbo 10. Alex Goode, 9. Tom Whiteley; 1. Titi Lamositele, 2. Tom Woolostencroft, 3. Josh Ibuanokpe, 4. Callum Hunter-Hill 5. Joel Kpoku, 6. Nick Isiekwe, 7. Sean Reffell, 8. Andy Christie.
16. Kapeli Pifeleti, 17. Sam Crean, 18. Sam Wainwright, 19. Jon Kpoku, 20. Ollie Stonham, 21. Alex Day, 22. Alex Lozowksi, 23. Rotimi Segun