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Aviva Premiership: Harlequins prove too strong for Sale at the Stoop
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Harlequins picked up their first win in five games thanks to a 24-3 victory over Sale at the Twickenham Stoop to allow them leapfrog the Sharks.
Ben Botica scored an impressive 14 points as Quins moved into sixth place in the Aviva Premiership table.
The first half was dour with the only scores coming from penalty kicks, three from Ben Botica to one from Danny Cipriani giving the hosts a 9-3 interval lead.
Sale rallied briefly after the restart but a superb team try finished off by Luke Wallace and a further penalty from Botica set the Quins on the road to victory. A late converted try from replacement Jack Clifford rewarded Quins' second half dominance.
Quins were nowhere their best but after their recent efforts, they will be happy with their win against a determined but disappointing Sale as the visitors offered very little in attack.
The home forwards had a battle on their hands as Sale fiercely contested every ruck and maul but behind the scrum Quins had the edge - and ultimately that paid dividends.
Quins had the better of the opening quarter but their only reward was a simple penalty from Botica and that was soon nullified when Cipriani kicked one for the visitors after 25 minutes.
Botica put his side back in front with his second penalty with the home side gaining further impetus when Cipriani's restart again went straight out of play.
Six minutes before the interval, Quins received a big blow when number eight Tom Guest was carried off on a stretcher, to be replaced by Clifford.
However, the home side received an immediate boost when Botica kicked his third penalty to give Quins a 9-3 interval lead.
Danny Care was brought on for Karl Dickson and immediately Quins scored a splendid try. Nick Easter broke away before an exquisite pass from Botica sent Clifford racing into the visitors 22.
The replacement was hauled down but Quins recycled for Evans to put in a superbly judged crossfield kick to the waiting Luke Wallace, who had no difficulty in collecting to score.
Botica's conversion rebounded back off a post but he added a further penalty after Mark Cueto was penalised for deliberately impeding Wallace, who was set to retrieve another crossfield kick.
The Sale wing was spoken to by the referee and was fortunate not to pick up a yellow card.
The disappointing Cipriani was replaced by Joe Ford as Sale emptied their bench in the hope of reversing their fortunes but it was to no avail as Ford's kick was charged down by Clifford, who raced away to clinch victory with a try which Botica converted.Aviva Premiership. Click here to bet.
|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|
|Saturday 28th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|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