Cipriani shines in Sale victory


Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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Danny Cipriani celebrated his new two-year contract by helping Sale to a hard-fought 14-10 Aviva Premiership victory over Saracens at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The in-form fly-half was influential throughout after being released back to Sale following his recent involvement with England’s RBS 6 Nations campaign.

Having turned down a lucrative offer from French champions Toulon, Cipriani this week signed a new two-year deal with Sale and two first-half tries from centre Sam Tuitupou and lock Jonathan Mills put the hosts in control.

Cipriani, 27, converted both tries to establish a 14-3 interval advantage over an ill-disciplined Saracens side who lost openside flanker Jacques Burger and scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth to the sin-bin in the first half.

Steve Diamond’s men defended doggedly after the break but a last-minute try from replacement Richard Barrington secured the visitors a bonus point.

Saracens were hit by the late withdrawal of former Sale playmaker Charlie Hodgson due to a hamstring injury.

That prompted a reshuffle which saw Alex Goode moved to fly-half and Chris Wyles promoted from the bench to the starting full-back berth.

The visitors, who were also bolstered by the return of England duo Wigglesworth and Mako Vunipola after two weeks of international duty, made a promising start.

Goode sent a penalty attempt wide in the seventh minute when he should have converted and Sale soon began to establish some decent field position.

Sharks winger Will Addison almost scampered clear down the right flank in the 12th minute but was denied by some stern defending.

Saracens led in the 16th minute when Goode kicked a penalty from halfway and, moments later, David Strettle almost escaped down the left flank but Sale scrum-half Chris Cusiter expertly fielded the winger’s kick as he threatened to burst clear.

Sale led in the 21st minute when Cipriani collected a pass from Cusiter and produced a delicate short pass to brilliantly usher the supporting Tuitupou over the line from close range.

Cipriani converted the centre’s try and Sale led 7-3 before Burger was sin-binned by referee Dean Richards in the 29th minute for not using his arms in a tackle.

In the 39th minute, Saracens’ ill-discipline cost them again when former Sale man Wigglesworth was sin-binned for catching Cusiter with a high tackle.

Sale punished them immediately as Cipriani kicked the penalty to the right and, from the subsequent line-out, Mills drove over the line in the right corner.

Cipriani added the conversion to make it 14-3 at the break before Wigglesworth departed the action in the 56th minute.

He was replaced by Neil de Kock and, while Saracens began to enjoy plenty of possession, they struggled to break down the defence of Sale, who lost winger Mark Cueto to a yellow card in the 76th minute for a deliberate knock-on.

Saracens made their numerical advantage pay in the last minute when Barrington burrowed over the line and Goode converted.

Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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