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Aviva Premiership: Charlie Hodgson boots Saracens past Sale
- McCall: Stars showed class
- Richards hurt by Quins loss
- Mallinder upbeat after win
- O'Leary faces 'stamp' ban
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- O'Leary handed three-week ban
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- Sale v Saracens: Teams
- Harlequins v Newcastle: Teams
- Northampton v Worcester: Teams
- Exeter v Bath: Teams
- Wasps v Irish: Teams
- Leicester v Gloucester: Teams
- Harlequins edge out Newcastle
- Leicester edge out Gloucester
- Ford runs hot in Bath win
- Irish win upset by O'Leary red
- Northampton return to summit
Charlie Hodgson kicked all of Saracens' points as they secured a 15-10 triumph over Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Hodgson's penalty gave Sarries an early 3-0 lead but Danny Cipriani's three-pointer and Marc Jones' try saw Sale go into the interval 10-3 ahead.
The Sharks failed to sustain the pressure in the second half as the 2011 champions dominated the remainder of the game and their stand-off added four further penalties.
Mark McCall's men were looking to respond to their shock 22-13 defeat to London Irish last weekend - the team's only regular season loss at Allianz Park.
They welcomed back Brad Barritt, Mako Vunipola and Alex Goode from England duty to boost the squad, but it was Sale who started the brighter as good hands from Johnny Leota and Rob Miller sent Mark Cueto away on the right-hand side.
However, impressive defence from the visitors earned a penalty and allowed them to set up their first attack of the game.
Hooker Jamie George showed excellent dexterity to put a kick in behind the hosts' back three and, after the Sharks had again infringed, Hodgson converted the resulting opportunity to take Sarries in front.
Although Cipriani levelled matters following a mistake from Vunipola, the London-based outfit were in control of the match and should have scored when their stand-off's wonderful pass found Duncan Taylor in space.
With the line at his the mercy, the centre's attempt at an off-load to Chris Ashton missed his intended target and Sale managed to clear.
Despite the next 15 minutes proceeding to take place between the 22s, both teams had moments of inspiration as Tom Brady and Goode made surging runs.
The deadlock was eventually broken when another mistake from the visitors allowed the home side to build pressure and a powerful driving maul ended in Jones going over. Cipriani added the conversion as the Sharks went into the break 10-3 in front.
Saracens opened the second period impressively with Vunipola particularly prominent with ball in hand, but an excellent tackle by Brady prevented Taylor from touching down.
McCall's team continued to test the Sale rearguard and it paid off when Hodgson kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit.
Sarries' heavy duty pack had struggled to get a grip of their feisty northern opponents but, with the introduction of their strong bench, they began to assert control.
Another successful three-point chance from their pivot took them to within one before a high James Gaskell tackle allowed the former England international to edge them ahead.
The weather was also playing its part with the Sharks finding it difficult to exit their half due to the strong wind.
Gaskell did briefly threaten when a well-weighted Henry Thomas' pass saw the back-rower break visitors' gain-line.
Nick Macleod then had the chance to take Sale ahead late on, but his effort missed the target and Hodgson rubber-stamped victory with a fifth from the tee.Aviva Premiership. Click here to bet.
|Friday 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com