Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Sale shock Sarries in semi

Danny Cipriani kicked 11 points for Sale

Sale will face Harlequins in the LV= Cup final after a narrow 21-15 triumph over Saracens.

Four Ben Spencer penalties to Danny Cipriani's two gave Sarries a 12-6 advantage midway through the first half before Tom Holmes' unconverted touchdown reduced the deficit to one point at the interval.

Spencer added his fifth three-pointer in the second period but Nathan Fowles went over and Cipriani kicked another penalty to send the Sharks into the final.

The hosts started the brighter, with Mike Haley - who came in as a late replacement for Cameron Shepherd - surging down the right-hand side. Although a knock-on ended the move, the pressure was eventually rewarded after four minutes when the visitors infringed at the breakdown and Cipriani kicked the penalty.

The lead was short-lived as indiscipline from the restart offered up a simple chance for Spencer to level, which he duly took.

With the wind against them in the opening period the Sharks were being pinned back in their own half and successive penalties from scrum-half Spencer took Saracens into a 9-3 lead.

The respective kickers then traded penalties but it was the visitors who were controlling most of the territory.

However, they failed to make their dominance tell on the scoreboard as a solid Sale rearguard kept Mark McCall's men from crossing the whitewash, and the hosts profited when one of their few excursions into the opposition 22 resulted in a try. It stemmed from a poor throw at the lineout by hooker Tommy Taylor, but the ball fell kindly for Holmes and he powered his way over.

Sarries earned a penalty in front of the posts which Spencer kicked to extend the lead to 15-11.

But the Sharks hit back when, after numerous phases, James Gaskell's offload found Fowles and the replacement half-back touched down. Cipriani added the conversion and then a late three-pointer to seal the win.

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