Sale Sharks director of rugby Bryan Redpath knows his side must learn to dominate up front just as visitors Saracens did in their 23-16 Aviva Premiership victory at Salford City Stadium.
Sarries bossed the scrum, one of the trademarks that saw them become 2011 Premiership champions, and fly-half Charlie Hodgson took advantage with six penalties for 18 points versus his old club. Having see his side thrashed 43-6 at Exeter a week ago on the Premiership's opening weekend, Redpath was at least satisfied with a much improved display.
"I thought we were a lot better than last week, which was the key thing," he said. "We lacked a little bit in confidence in certain parts because of last week's drubbing. We needed to get a better performance and I thought we got that for the majority of the game."
He added: "We didn't get the rub of the green on certain occasions.
"I think it was 9-0 on penalties at scrum time and we have to look at that and see why."
Will Addison's try early in the second half put Sale ahead, but newly-signed Chris Ashton's third score in two games for Saracens proved decisive as the Sharks had to settle for a losing bonus point.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall had no doubt his team merited their control in the pack and suggested Sale could have been punished more than they were.
"I thought for the first 25, 30 minutes of the match we were massively in control; built a 12-3 lead. It could have been more," he said.
"They gave away countless penalties in their own 22, which Charlie kicked. But they were try-scoring opportunities.
"It was frustrating for us that they kept 15 men on the pitch during that period of time."
- Bryan Redpath
- Charlie Hodgson
- Aviva Premiership