Robert du Preez kicked 14 points as the Sale Sharks beat Saracens 24-18, while there were also English Premiership wins for the Worcester Warriors, Harlequins, the Exeter Chiefs and Leicester Tigers.
Du Preez’s haul, which consisted of four penalties and a conversion, helped the Sharks stun the defending champions and close in on the Premiership top four with their unbeaten run stretching to five games.
The quick-tempo match saw Saracens take the lead through Billy Vunipola, who made his first start since recovering from injury, as the big No 8 cut inside and beat four Sale defenders to dot down in the left corner.
However, on their home ground, the Sharks upped the pace and quickly took the lead with two tries in five minutes. First, centre Sam James dovetailed brilliantly with England wing Denny Solomona, exchanging passes before sprinting clear to score.
A few minutes later, Faf de Klerk, who was a typical bundle of energy for the Sharks, received possession at a lineout and fed James, who in turn passed it to Solomona to make a 50m run to put the hosts into the lead.
Owen Farrell was a shown a yellow card minutes before the break after putting in a high shot on Chris Ashton, with Du Preez kicking two penalties in the first half to make it 18-11 to the Sharks at half-time.
The match became increasingly high tempered in the second half as the Sharks began to get under visitors skin which showed when replacement hooker Christopher Tolofua became the second Saracens player to see yellow. Du Preez punished their ill-discipline with a further two penalties to put Sale 24-13 up, which sealed the game despite Saracens grabbing a late consolation try through Nick Tompkins.
In other results, the Worcester Warriors fought back from a 16-point half-time deficit to beat Bath 21-19 after keeping the visitors scoreless in the second half. The result stretched the Warriors lead over the bottom-placed Newcastle Falcons to four points.
The Exeter Chiefs stayed on top of the standings with a hard-fought 14-7 win against the Bristol Bears, the Leicester Tigers handed Gloucester their second straight defeat with a 34-16 victory, and Harlequins piled more pressure on Newcastle by beating them 37-18.
In the only match on Sunday, Wasps will look to put a bad run of three Premiership losses behind them when they host the Northampton Saints, who are on a high after claiming the scalps of both Exeter and Worcester in successive rounds.
Round 12 results:
Sale 24 Saracens 18
Leicester Tigers 24 Gloucester 16
Worcester Warriors 21 Bath 19
Newcastle Falcons 17 Harlequins 38
Exeter Chiefs 14 Bristol Bears 7
Wasps vs Northampton Saints
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