Harlequins beat Sale Sharks and move to second

Tim Visser of Harlequins is tackled by Andrei Ostrikov

Harlequins moved up to second place in the Aviva Premiership Rugby standings by beating Sale Sharks 16-14 at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday.

Sale Sharks had a short turnaround but finished within two points so they move up to fifth place thanks to their losing bonus point.

Quins were forced to hold off an impressive Sale side to record a hard-fought win.

A scrappy first 40 minutes saw Harlequins’ only score come through a Nick Evans penalty. Sale scored the half’s solitary try through blindside flanker Dan braid, with Danny Cipriani kicking the extra two points.

A much more expansive second half saw a try for either side through Visser and Sam James. Both kickers kept up their great record with Evans and Cipriani kicking nine and two points respectively.

In a scoreless first fifteen minutes, both sides’ handling was poor. The packs were called on early as there were a large number of scrums, meaning the game was slow to get going.

Sale began to use the boot of Cipriani to keep Quins rooted in their own 22. The away side took advantage of the territory to open the scoring through Braid. An up and under from Cipriani was missed by Visser, Braid picked up the loose ball and went over for the first try of the game.

Steve Diamond’s men continued to press a very shaky Harlequins line, but failed to extend their lead, with Cipriani missing a long range penalty.

Quins grabbed a lifeline just before half time with three points from in-form kicker Evans, meaning they only had a four point deficit going into the break.

Evans started the second half as he finished the first with a penalty to bring Quins to within one point of the Sharks.

As the half began to open up, Quins grabbed their first try through Scottish international Visser. A sublime cross-field kick from Evans was topped by an even better pick up from Visser that saw him go over for his first try for Harlequins.

Evans added to the lead with another penalty to maintain his position at the top of the Premiership scoring charts.

After soaking up the Quins pressure, Sale were unlucky not to score, but brilliant play from wingers Yarde and Visser saw James held up over the line.

But James wasn’t to be denied. From the resulting scrum, Cipriani popped the ball inside and the young centre powered his way over.

Despite relentless Sale pressure and a missed Cipriani drop goal, Harlequins held on to record their third win of the season.

Final Score Harlequins 16 (3) Sale Sharks 14 (7)

Scorers

Harlequins
Tries – Visser
Pen – Evans (3)
Con – Evans
Drop –

Sale Sharks
Tries – Braid, James
Pen –
Con – Cipriani (2)
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee :Tim Wigglesworth (98th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carly and Ashley Rowden
TMO: Sean Davey.

Teams

Harlequins

15. Mike Brown, 14. Marland Yarde, 13. George Lowe, 12. Matt Hopper, 11. Tim Visser, 10. Nick Evans, 9. Danny Care (C), 8. Nick Easter, 7. Luke Wallace, 6. Chris Robshaw, 5. Sam Twomey, 4. Charlie Matthews, 3. Will Collier, 2. Dave Ward ,1. Joe Marler

Replacements :16. Joe Gray, 17. Mark Lambert, 18. Kyle Sinckler, 19. Jack Clifford, 20. James Chisholm, 21. Karl Dickson, 22. Ben Botica, 23. Ollie Lindsay-Hague

Sale Sharks

15. Mike Haley, 14. Tom Arscott, 13. Sam James, 12. Sam Tuitupou, 11. Nev Edwards, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Peter Stringer, 1. Ross Harrison, 2. Tommy Taylor, 3. Vadim Cobilas, 4. Jonathan Mills, 5. Bryn Evans, 6. Dan Braid (capt.), 7. TJ Ioane, 8. Josh Beaumont.

Replacements: 16. Neil Briggs, 17. James Flynn, 18. Brian Mujati, 19. Andrei Ostrikov, 20. Magnus Lund, 21. James Mitchell, 22. Nick Macleod, 23. Johnny Leota.

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