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Page last updated at 18:05 GMT, Sunday, 1 March 2009

Saracens 24-23 Sale

Saracens (14) 24
Tries: Lloyd, Cato Cons: Jackson Pens: Jackson 3
Drops: Jackson

Sale (10) 23
Tries: Schofield 2, Thomas Cons: Thomas Pens: Thomas 2

Saracens' Justin Marshall eludes the grasp of Lee Thomas
Saracens' Justin Marshall eludes the grasp of Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas's late missed conversion cost second-placed Sale victory as Saracens ended a week of off-the-field upheaval on a winning note.

Nick Lloyd's try followed a penalty by Glen Jackson before Sale hit back with the first of two Dean Schofield tries.

Jackson's drop-goal helped Sarries to a 14-10 interval lead, extended when Chris Jack set up Noah Cato to score.

Thomas's try ate into that lead and on 76 minutes Schofield bagged his second - but Thomas missed an easy conversion.

Saracens were thrown into turmoil this week by the announcement of a mass clear-out of players in the summer to pave the way for a takeover by a South African group, with ex-Springbok coach Brendan Venter coming in as coach.

In all, 15 players have been told to go, including former All Black Chris Jack, Cencus Johnston and long-serving club men Kevin Sorrell and Ben Skirving.

Saracens director of rugby Eddie Jones:
"The impact of culling so many of your best players has a massive effect on the club.

"The senior players have been fantastic in pulling the guys together. I take no credit."

Sale director of rugby Kingsley Jones:
"Lee's sitting in the changing room with his head in his hands, but he was one of the best players on the field.

"There were other opportunities we didn't take, and our discipline was the disappointment. I felt that let us down.

"The positive was that we got a bonus point. We caught Saracens at a tough time for them, but if I was in their shoes I'd go out to have the game of my life."

Saracens: Goode, Haughton, Ratuvou, Powell, Cato, Jackson, Marshall, Lloyd, Cairns, Johnston, Jack, Vyvyan, van Heerden, Saull, Skirving, Visagie.
Replacements: Penney for Haughton (70), Barritt for Powell (70), Wilson for Marshall (76), Seymour for Lloyd (32), Visagie for Johnston (17), Chesney for Jack (59), Kyriacou for Visagie (35).

Sale: McLeod, Bell, Keil, Thomas, Doherty, Hodgson, Wigglesworth, Faure, Briggs, Roberts, Schofield, Cockbain, C. Jones, Abraham, Fernandez Lobbe, Turner.
Replacements: Kuadey for Doherty (65), Leck for Wigglesworth (21), D. Tait for Faure (54), Turner for Roberts (21), Cox for Cockbain (41), M. Jones for Turner (36).

Not Used: Ripol.

Att: 8,311

Ref: Tim Wigglesworth (RFU)

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see also
Jones criticises Sarries turmoil
01 Mar 09 |  Saracens
Saracens players shocked at exits
26 Feb 09 |  Saracens
Dallaglio dismayed by Saracens
26 Feb 09 |  English
Saracens plan massive clear-out
25 Feb 09 |  Saracens
Newcastle 13-9 Saracens
20 Feb 09 |  English
Gloucester 24-17 Sale
14 Feb 09 |  English

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