Gallagher Premiership Rugby: Saracens downed at Sale Sharks after ‘fundamental’ errors

PUBLISHED: 09:53 05 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:53 05 January 2019

Sale Sharks Tom Curry celebrates the win during the Gallagher Premiership match at the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford. Picture: RICHARD SELLERS/PA

Sale Sharks Tom Curry celebrates the win during the Gallagher Premiership match at the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford. Picture: RICHARD SELLERS/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Getting the basics wrong was the reason for Saracens slumping to a second Gallagher Premiership Rugby defeat with a 24-18 loss at Sale Sharks.

St Albans' Nick Isiekwe wins the line out during Saracens' Gallagher Premiership match against Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford. Picture: RICHARD SELLERS/PASt Albans' Nick Isiekwe wins the line out during Saracens' Gallagher Premiership match against Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford. Picture: RICHARD SELLERS/PA

Such has been Sarries start that two defeats from three games feels quite pivotal to their season’s ambitions but director of rugby Mark McCall put it down to something far more straight forward.

“A lot of our fundamentals were really poor,” he admitted. “In the first half we lost four restart receptions and were a bit sloppy defensively, and in the second half it was all about set-piece.

“We got ourselves behind and didn’t react well to some of the setbacks we faced. We then played horrible catch-up rugby towards the end.

“We were playing against a good team who were really good tonight and very physical around the breakdown area, but it was the fundamentals which let us down.”

It started well enough with Billy Vunipola marking his return to the side with a try inside seven minutes, converted by Owen Farrell, but by half-time they only had two further Farrell kicks to their name.

In comparison the hosts at the AJ Bell Stadium had two tries to their name, Sam James and Denny Solomona the scorers, as well as two penalties and a conversion for Rob du Preez.

The second half was littered with mistakes, keeping the score at 18-13 going into the final quarter and 10 minutes in the sin-bin for Christopher Tolofua did not help the Sarries cause.

Du Preez kicked a penalty during this period and added another just after the hooker’s penalty had finished to put the Sharks 11 points to the good.

But just as it seemed as if Saracens would leave with nothing, Nick Tompkins scooted over in the final minute to give them a losing bonus point.

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