Vunipola stars on return as Saracens beat 14-man Sale
Billy Vunipola marked his return from injury by creating the try of the match in Saracens’ 25-14 win at home to Sale in the English Premiership on Sunday.
Saracens were 13-0 up, against the run of play, when powerhouse England No 8 Vunipola, showing no ill effect from the knee injury that kept him out for four weeks, dummied through midfield and sent Scotland wing Sean Maitland in for a try with a long floated pass.
It was a fine reminder to England coach Eddie Jones of the 29-year-old Vunipola’s all-round ability.
At 18-0 behind there was no way back for Sale, who had to play the last 35 minutes a man down after Byron McGuigan lost his composure completely, striking Nick Tompkins from behind and throwing him to the ground following minor provocation from the Wales centre.
Sale did manage tries from Ben Curry and Raffi Quirke but this result saw Saracens, the five-time English champions, climb to second in the table.
“Billy was really good again and it is a series of games he has put together for the club all season,” said Saracens boss Mark McCall.
“He has been inspirational for us all the way through. Eddie has just asked him to keep on backing up performances and he certainly did that.”
Sale counterpart Alex Sanderson suggested Sharks wing McGuigan, a mixed martial artist, had let his frustration get the better of him.
“Byron trains at UFC on his time off so maybe he just had a flashback of some sort of ultimate fighting session he’s done. I haven’t spoken to him,” said Sanderson, a former Saracens assistant coach.
“He’s a great lad, one of the hardest workers. The emotion, the occasion, the fact we hadn’t scored — I was feeling that too — probably got the better of him.”
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