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Alex Sanderson says ‘still loads more to come’ from Sale after Saracens scalp

Sale Sharks v Saracens – Gallagher Premiership – AJ Bell Stadium

Alex Sanderson believes Sale Sharks still have not scratched the surface of their potential after a statement victory over Saracens.


Sale made it 12 home league wins on the bounce by beating their fellow high-flyers 22-20 at Salford Stadium thanks to tries from Agustin Creevy, Tom Roebuck and Luke Cowan-Dickie and seven points from the boot of George Ford.

The result saw Sanderson’s side take a four-point lead at the summit, heading into the weekend’s fixtures, but he believes there is a lot more still to come from his charges.

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“There is a sense of relief, but I’m so happy the lads made good of their intentions against a really good Saracens side,” Sale’s director of rugby said.

“I suppose it makes Christmas that bit sweeter for us – we’ll all enjoy our Christmas morning now.

“We knew the magnitude of the game of course, and I was delighted with the way the players just revelled in their responsibilities.

“We’re still going well.

“Having said that, in terms of our performance I still think there’s loads more to come from us all. That’s really exciting, isn’t it?


“We still need to be better in all areas of the game because a game’s big moments turn on small hinges and we need to make sure we turn those big moments into our favour as much as we can, but we’ve not hit our straps yet.

“There’s a lot more in us yet I think, and that’s a great thing to be able to say at this stage of the season.”

Owen Farrell kicked 10 points for Saracens but tries from Ivan van Zyl and Gareth Simpson were only enough for the visitors to claim a losing bonus point.

It has been a tricky few weeks by the very high standards set by Mark McCall’s side, who have now lost successive Premiership games after going down at Northampton Saints earlier this month.


McCall said: “We knew it would be a difficult game away at a quality side like Sale.

“Having said that, I’m proud and pleased of the way we played throughout the 80 minutes.

“The players showed real energy and they kept fighting right until the end, and we almost clawed our way back to claim a victory.

“We’re not too far away, we’re getting there. We’ve got some really tough fixtures coming up, but also we’ve got a few players to come back into the reckoning over the next few weeks.

“We definitely aren’t feeling sorry for ourselves. That’s not the attitude I’m feeling.”


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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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