Sale Sharks powered into the Gallagher Premiership Rugby top four overnight as they downed Saracens with a wonderful display at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Saracens had taken an early lead when the returning Billy Vunipola crossed but tries from Sam James and Denny Solomona allowed Sale to overturn the early deficit.
Reliable kicking from Du Preez took the game away from Sarries despite Nick Tompkins’ late score, meaning Sale are now undefeated in five and have won their last three.
MAN OF THE MATCH
With the likes of Chris Ashton, Robert Du Preez and Faf de Klerk, Sale have plenty of newer stars, but Sam James has been a key cog in their machine for some time now and was the pick of the bunch on Friday.
Playing at outside centre James had a superb all-round game, most notably breaking from his own half to lead to his own try a few phases later, while displaying a brilliant passing game all night long.
TRY OF THE MATCH
This was a game with three excellent tries but the pick of the bunch was Solomona’s – creating a lead that would prove insurmountable.
A superb planned move saw de Klerk reverse his pass around the centre of the pitch, before an inside James ball found Solomona to run into the corner with a delightful step past Liam Williams for good measure.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
As early as the seventh minute came a moment that brought warmth to many a rugby fan up and down the country as Billy Vunipola touched down for a score.
The try was created with a brilliant break that almost saw Alex Lozowski go in under the posts, with Vunipola collecting out wide and then cutting back in to power past the two remaining defenders – sealing his injury return in style.
WHAT THEY SAID
Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond said: “We’re getting there. We’ve said many weeks now that we embrace the challenge of being in the toughest competition.
“I look at it and think ‘right that’s who we’ve got, how can we turn them over’. With the players we’ve got, believing in what we’re doing, driving the mentality in the place like we do, then we’ll do alright.
“We knew there were only going to be three or four opportunities in the game. We took two in the first half and threw one away when Sammy James made the break down the left-hand side. If we’d kept it in hand we may have scored again, but he’s a top player for us as he got man of the match.”