Saracens moves to the summit
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Mark McCall's Saracens moved to the summit of the table as they won a tight contest against Sale Sharks thanks to an opportunist try from Liam Williams.
Despite missing an avalanche of players through injury and international call-ups, Saracens dug deep in an arm wrestle of an encounter at Sale.
Welsh international wing Williams produced a moment of magic early on, taking advantage of a slip from Marland Yarde to cut a penetrative line to score after 12 minutes.
Ben Spencer - kicking in the absence of England's Owen Farrell - added the extras but he was unable to extend Sarries lead on 20 minutes as he missed his penalty attempt.
Sale enjoyed plenty of possession in the first half and created opportunities almost at will, with scrum-half Faf de Klerk pulling the strings for the Sharks in attack.
The game boiled over on 31 minutes and Sale's Rob Webber and Sarries' Williams were both sent to the sin bin after a coming together.
Sale was awarded the subsequent penalty for the infringement by Williams and de Klerk nailed his kick at goal to make the score 7-3.
It got better for Sarries on the stroke of half-time as Spencer stretched the visitors lead to 10-3 with a penalty from in front of the posts.
Alex Lozowski thought he had scored on 46 minutes for Sarries but, with the try line at his mercy, the England international was unable to gather the ball.
On 50 minutes de Klerk was penalised at the breakdown, allowing Spencer to further extend Saracens' lead with a simple penalty.
Sale continued to dominate territory and possession in the final 30 minutes but Saracens' defence held firm under heavy pressure from the home side.
For Sale Sharks:
Pen: De Klerk
Pens: Spencer 2
Yellow cards: Rob Webber (Sale Sharks, 31), Liam Williams (Saracen, 31)
Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Will Addison (captain), 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Sam James, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Josh Beaumont, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 George Nott, 20 Cameron Neild, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Luke James, 23 Josh Charnley
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Calum Clark, 5 George Kruis, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Richard Barrington
Replacements: 16 Scott Spurling, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Max Malins, 23 Nathan Earle
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Adam Leal & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Stuart Terheege.