Sale 24-18 Saracens: Rob du Preez kicks hosts to comfortable win

Rob du Preez kicked 14 of Sale's 24 points against Saracens
Gallagher Premiership
Sale (18) 24
Tries: James, Solomona Con: Du Preez Pens: Du Preez 4
Saracens (13) 18
Tries: Vunipola, Tompkins Con: Farrell Pens: Farrell 2

Saracens moved top of the Premiership table despite being well beaten by Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Billy Vunipola returned from injury to touch down for Saracens early on but Sam James crossed to cut their lead.

Denny Solomona then scored to put Sale ahead while the visitors had Owen Farrell sent to the bin for a high arm on Chris Ashton just before half-time.

Rob du Preez kicked Sale into a sizable lead but Nick Tompkins' late try gave Saracens a losing bonus point.

The victory means Sale move up to fourth in the Premiership table courtesy of their fifth successive victory while Saracens moved above Exeter at the top.

England international Vunipola made a perfect return from the broken arm he sustained in October as he scored the opening try of the match after seven minutes.

Coming into the game off the back of an impressive 30-15 win against Gloucester, James' try clawed Sale to within two points of the visitors after Du Preez and Owen Farrell exchanged penalties.

Solomona touched down moments later as Sale began to seize control of much of the match either side of the break.

Saracens' task was made harder when Christopher Tolofua was yellow-carded for an off-the-ball tackle midway through the second half.

Vunipola's return to action will provide a boost to England coach Eddie Jones before the Six Nations, with England starting their campaign with a visit to defending champions Ireland on 2 February (16:45 GMT).

Sale: Ashton; Solomona, O'Connor, James, McGuigan; du Preez, de Klerk; Harrison, Webber, John, Beaumont, Phillips, Ross (capt) Curry, Strauss.

Replacements: Langdon, Bristow, Jones, Evans, Curry, Cliff, James, Reed.

Saracens: Goode; Williams, Tompkins, Lozowski, Strettle; Farrell (capt), Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, Woolstencroft, Koch, Skelton, Kruis, Isiekwe, Burger, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Tolofua, Barrington, Lamositele, Clark, Wray, Spencer, Bosch, Maitland.

Referee: Matthew Carley.

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Source: BBC Rugby Union News

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By adamreeves / Administrator, bbp_keymaster on Jan 04, 2019