Sale Sharks edge Harlequins in Salford

Ben Botica clears the ball for Harlequins

Sale Sharks moved briefly back into the Aviva Premiership top six by beating Harlequins 29-23 at the AJ Bell Stadium on Satruday.

Both teams scored two tries each and the result came down to penalty kicks with Joe Ford and Danny Cipriani outckicking Ben Botica.

Quins picked up a losing bonus point, with a late converted try, moving above their opponents on points difference into fifth place.

Sale were last beaten at home in the Premiership by this weekend’s opponents nearly a year ago, but lightning did not strike twice, despite a lacklustre first half from the home team.

Danny Cipriani, starting on the bench after wayward kicking in the 36-36 draw with Saracens last time out, proved crucial to the victory, kicking well following his introduction to the game.

The opening exchanges saw the two sides trading penalties, Harlequins’ Ben Botica’s effort sandwiched between two successful kicks from Joe Ford for the hosts.

Both teams played on the offence, and that meant either side looked likely to add to their tallies, but it was Ford again who did the duty from the tee to extend Sale’s lead.

The gap was cut to three once more with Botica sailing an effort through the posts late on in the first half, before Quins took the lead with game’s first try.

Scotland winger Tim Visser raced to the line having been fed the ball by Botica, who converted to make it 13-9.

Following an unusually disappointing first half from the home side, they came out fired up for the second, and TJ Ioane crossed the whitewash after great work in the driving maul.

Ford converted and Sale had a three point advantage. Botica then levelled the scores with another penalty, but Sale took command of the tie in the final 20 minutes as first, Ford’s replacement Cipriani kicked home three points, before Will Addison touched down after a great team move involving Cipriani and Peter Stringer.

Sam James played in Addison before Cipriani converted for a 10 point advantage. With time running out, Cipriani kicked three more points to all but secure the points for Sharks.

However, Quins brought themselves to within a converted score of winning the game with the last action of the match. Samson Egerton drove over the line, with Botica converting, but it was too-little-too-late.

Final Score Sale Sharks 29 (9) Harlequins 23 (13)

Scorers

Sale Sharks
Tries – Ioane, Addison
Pen – Ford (3), Cipriani (2)
Con – Ford, Cipriani
Drop –

Harlequins
Tries – Visser, Egerton
Pen – Botica (3)
Con – Botica (2)
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee : Ian Tempest (15th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Steve Lee.
TMO: Trevor Fisher.

Teams

Sale Sharks

15. Mike Haley, 14. Will Addison, 13. Sam James, 12. Johnny Leota, 11. Tom Arscott, 10. Joe Ford, 9. Chris Cusiter, 1. Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 2. Neil Briggs, 3. Brian Mujati, 4. Bryn Evans, 5. Andrei Ostirkov, 6. TJ Ioane, 7. David Seymour (capt.), 8. Mark Easter

Replacements: 16. Tommy Taylor, 17. Ross Harrison, 18. Vadim Cobilas, 19. Jonathan Mills, 20. Cameron Neild, 21. Peter Stringer, 22. Danny Cipriani, 23. Mark Jennings.

Harlequins

15. Ross Chisholm, 14. Marland Yarde, 13. Matt Hopper, 12. Harry Sloan, 11. Tim Visser, 10. Ben Botica, 9. Tito Tebaldi, , 1. Mark Lambert, 2. Dave Ward, 3. Kyle Sinckler, 4. George Merrick, 5. James Horwill (C), 6. Mat Luamanu, 7. Luke Wallace, 8. Nick Easter

Replacements: 16. Rob Buchanan, 17. Owen Evans, 18. Will Collier, 19. Charlie Matthews, 20. James Chisholm, 21. Sam Egerton, 22. Joe Marchant, 23. Charlie Walker

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