Saracens beat Sale to win sixth Premiership title despite interruption by protesters

Saracens players celebrate as they win their sixth Gallagher Premiership title after beating Sale Sharks at Twickenham. Clive Rose/Getty Images

Saracens won their sixth title and first in four years when they overpowered a spirited Sale to triumph 35-25 in a superb English Premiership final that was briefly halted by protesters at a sun-drenched Twickenham on Saturday.

Saracens, who finished top of the standings in the regular season, had their noses in front for most of the game having led 20-18 at halftime after a penalty try and one for Max Malins.

Sale, seeking a second title in their first appearance in the final since their sole triumph in 2006, hit back strongly with three tries from Akker van der Merwe, Tom Roebuck and Bevan Rodd to edge ahead midway through the second half to threaten an upset.

Saracens, however, who lost to Leicester via a last-gasp drop goal in last year's final, delivered the telling blow with quickfire scores by Elliot Daly and Ivan van Zyl late in the second half to open a lead that Sale were unable to close.

"This was not redemption. We have moved on from last year, but it gets brought up a lot," said man of the match Owen Farrell. "It's about getting the best out of ourselves as we felt that we closed up shop a bit in the final last year.

"This just shows how strong the group is. When people come to a club like this, not many people want to leave.

"It feels like a family when you've been together as long as we have and you want to keep fighting for the group to make it a place where people want to stay and fight for 10 or 15 years."

After a tense opening spell it was 6-6 after two penalties apiece but the game was held up when two protesters invaded the pitch and let off orange smoke bombs.

After a brief delay, the action resumed and Saracens were awarded a penalty try when flanker Tom Curry tackled Malins off the ball as the winger bore down on a grubber kick over the tryline.

Curry was sin-binned but while he was off Sale surged back to level through Van der Merwe.

Saracens, though, were looking full of energy and invention, as they have all season, and a terrific move set up Malins to put them 20-13 ahead at the break after a great combination between the hugely impressive Farrell and Alex Goode - seeking a remarkable sixth title in his ninth final.

The lead was cut to two early in the second half when Roebuck caught Daly napping as he tried to scoop up a bouncing ball, the winger cleverly chasing and diving to touch down inches inside the dead ball line.

Daly thought he had made amends two minutes later but the TMO ruled that he was in touch before touching down. Farrell, though, landed a penalty soon after to stretch it to 23-18 with 30 minutes remaining.

Sale refused to back down, surging back immediately as Manu Tuilagi smashed a huge hole to replacement prop Rodd to go through and as Ford converted, Sale were ahead for the first time.

With the sun beating down on the hottest day of the year, players started to wilt and some of the sharpness dropped, epitomised when Sale fullback Joe Carpenter took too long over a clearance kick and was charged down, paving the way for Daly to score and edge Sarries back ahead.

The London side then came again as scrumhalf Van Zyl squeezed over, this time Farrell converting for a 10-point lead that broke the back of the Sale challenge.

The vast experience of the most successful team in the country over the last decade ensured they were able to run down the clock without too many further scares and celebrate a victory that their hugely impressive season deserved.