Saracens back in front

Saracens returned to the top of the English Premiership with a dour 15-10 win over Sale on Friday night.

Flyhalf Charlie Hodgson kicked five penalties in appallingly wet conditions to cancel out the efforts of Sale, who led with a driving-maul try by hooker Marc James, a conversion and a penalty by Danny Cipiani until the 59th minute.

The introduction of South African scrumhalf Neil de Kock off the bench provided Saracens with some momentum in the twilight stages, but the slow play ensured that Saracens were never going to break through for a more emphatic win.

Saracens' position at the top of the log is not likely to last long, for Northampton, now three points behind on 51, are heavily favoured to beat basement team Worcester when they meet on Saturday.

Saturday fixtures:

Harlequins vs Newcastle
London Wasps vs London Irish
Northampton vs Worcester
Exeter vs Bath

Sunday fixture:

Leicester vs Gloucester

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images