SARACENS (28) vs SALE (13)
SARACENS chief Brendan Venter insisted last week’s shock defeat to London Irish set the platform for this first win of the Premiership campaign.
Venter was furious after much-fancied Sarries crashed 33-16 to the Exiles at Twickenham last Saturday.
The South African responded with his first rollicking of the new season – and it worked a treat as last season’s Premiership runners-up rallied to an impressive victory, much to the relief of the Vicarage Road crowd.
England scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth kicked 13 points against his former club, while fellow home debutants Deon Carstens and David Strettle touched down for second half tries to add to Schalk Brits’ earlier effort.
Sale, who beat Newcastle in their opener last week, replied with a David Seymour try and eight points from the boot of Nick McLeod, all the first half.
Relieved Venter said: “At Twickenham last week, we found out the hard way that you have to produce your very best every week to be successful.
“Had we managed to win that, despite playing poorly, we’d have thought we are better than we are. So I’m very pleased that all the boys gave everything in the heat and came away with a solid victory.”
Frustrated Sale boss Mike Brewer added: “Our discipline was poor. It’s a key thing and it was not good enough. We conceded 20 penalties and you won’t beat anyone with that on your back.”
There was good news, however, for England boss Martin Johnson with Saracens welcoming back captain Steve Borthwick for the first time this season, while prop Andrew Sheridan turned out for Sale in only his second match since October.