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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
- Ford praises Bath youngsters
- O'Leary handed three-week ban
- Cockerill critical of Tigers
- 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 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|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 Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com