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LV= Cup final: Harlequins beat Sale Sharks to keep treble dream alive
Harlequins remain on course for an unprecedented treble after crushing Sale Sharks 32-14 in the LV= Cup final at Sixways.
Tougher examinations await for the current Premiership champions - and probably for a very different line-up of personnel - but this was the first box ticked in impressive fashion.
It was Harlequins' sixth successive victory in a final and they never really looked likely to surrender their impressive record in showpiece occasions.
Ben Botica nudged Harlequins ahead with a penalty in the fourth minute and four minutes later they had their first try, as Botica punted a penalty into the corner and quick ball combined with skillful handling had Tom Williams scooting over at the opposite corner flag moments later.
Botica missed the conversion and a typically bullocking run off the back of a scrum from Sale No 8 Andy Powell earned Danny Cipriani a three-pointer.
But on 26 minutes Quins had their second try, after a break from Williams from inside his own 22 set up a five-metre scrum, Tom Guest picking up from the base and diving over. Botica converted for a 15-3 lead.
Cipriani and Botica exchanged penalties before the break and the Sale fly-half cut the deficit to nine points just after the half, but two tries in 13 minutes effectively settled the contest.
From quick ball off the top of a lineout, Tom Casson's classic show and go had him gliding through the Sale defensive line to score untouched.
Quins' fourth try quickly arrived, as Dixon's short pass two metres out put skipper Luke Wallace over. Botica converted both scores for a 32-9 lead.
Sale showed their spirit by quickly hitting back, good handling producing an unconverted score for Johnny Leota, but despite plenty of ball and pressure in the final quarter, they never looked likely to launch a comeback and end their seven-year wait for a trophy.
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|Saturday 31st January|
|14:40||Harlequins vs Bath|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Ospreys|
|15:00||Leicester vs Northampton|
|18:30||Scarlets vs London Irish|
|Sunday 1st February|
|14:00||Wasps vs Cardiff Blues|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Saracens|
|14:30||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Exeter|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th February|
|14:00||Sale Sharks vs Scarlets|
|14:30||Cardiff Blues vs Leicester|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Bath vs Ospreys|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 8th February|
|14:30||Newport Gwent D'gons vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Saracens vs Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com