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Good Evans sinks Sale
Brown secures bonus point with last-gasp score
Reigning Premiership champions Harlequins made it three wins from three with a Nick Evans-inspired 37-14 victory over Sale at The Stoop.
The Quins secured their bonus point with a last-minute try from Mike Brown, which man of the match Evans converted for a match tally of 17 points.
The final scoreline was harsh on the Sharks who competed well throughout but the Quins were always the more creative side.
Harlequins made a blistering start, gaining immediate possession from the kick-off to produce a two-minute period of pressure, which ended with Ugo Monye being driven over for a try which Evans converted.
Minutes later, Sale had their first chance for points but Danny Cipriani badly missed a 35-metre penalty attempt from almost straight in front of the posts.
When Quins full-back Brown was penalised at a ruck 40 metres out, Cipriani was given another penalty chance and this time he made no mistake with his kick.
The opening quarter was frenetic with the hosts trying to exploit the ideal playing conditions by running the ball at every opportunity. However careless handling cost them at crucial stages, allowing the visitors to remain in touch.
Sale had another chance to reduce the deficit but Cipriani was narrowly wide with a penalty attempt from just inside his own half.
Against the run of play the visitors took the lead after 20 minutes. A clever pass from Cipriani allowed Sam Tuitupou to make a big hole in the home defence. The ball was recycled and Richie Vernon raced beyond the cover defence for a try. Cipriani's conversion from the touchline rebounded back off the post.
The Sharks became more competitive but it was Harlequins who regained the lead six minutes before the interval with another excellent try.
They won quick ball from a lineout 40 metres out, Danny Care's swift pass sent Evans sailing though a huge gap in the visitors' defence and Jordan Turner-Hall was on hand to collect the scoring pass.
Evans converted to give the Quins a deserved 14-8 interval lead.
An excellent take-and-kick from Evans put Harlequins on the attack early in the second half and when Sale were penalised, the outside-half kicked a 30-metre penalty to extend his side's advantage.
Evans then saved the home side with a try-line tackle before kicking another penalty after the Sale pack infringed when under severe pressure at the set scrum close to their line.
Sale responded with a second penalty from Cipriani to be trailing 20-11 at the end of the third quarter.
Strong bursts from replacement Maurie Fa'asavalu and Monye gained the hosts a position in the Sharks 22 and once again Sale were penalised to allow Evans to kick his third penalty.
Cipriani gave Sale a glimmer of hope with his third penalty with 10 minutes remaining but that was his last slice of action as he was replaced by Nick Macleod.
With six minutes to go Harlequins effectively sealed their victory.
Brown produced one of his trademark elusive bursts to set up the platform from which George Robson crashed over from short range for their third try which Evans converted and Brown's late effort put gloss on the win.
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|Friday 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com