Sale delight in ensuring Billy Vunipola’s Saracens comeback ends in defeat


• Sale 24-18 Saracens
• Faf de Klerk outstanding as hosts get under visitors’ skin

Perhaps something is beginning to stir at Sale after all. On a night when Saracens forward Billy Vunipola marked his comeback from injury with a well-taken opening try and played the full 80 minutes, it was the hosts who were celebrating a famous, third successive Premiership victory.

On New Year’s Day, Sale’s embattled director of rugby, Steve Diamond, declared his ambition to compete for trophies again. Putting Saracens, the defending champions, to the sword suggested his desire has substance. Not much has gone right for Sale since their memorable 2006 Premiership final win over Leicester at Twickenham. But this hard-earned win, chiselled on aggression and two delightful first-half tries, was rapturously received by Diamond and his men.

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Written by Ross Heppenstall at the AJ Bell Stadium
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