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Larrechea boosts Sale
Daniel Larrechea proved a more-than-able deputy for the injured Charlie Hodgson as he inspired Sale Sharks to a 17-12 victory against Harlequins.
The French fly-half scored 12 points in all, with the home side racing into a 14-3 lead at the break.
Harlequins struck back in the second half, however, with the boot of Adrian Jarvis bringing the London side two within two points of parity.
But opposite number Larrechea struck the telling blow, his third penalty of the match sealing victory for the reigning champions and bringing a positive end to a miserable few days.
Sale lost successive Guinness Premiership matches against Bristol and Newcastle - the latter defeat at home prompting an apology from director of rugby Phillipe Saint-Andre.
Then England number 10 Hodgson and prop Andrew Sheridan were ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering injuries during last Saturday's Test win against South Africa.
And to make matters worse, Scotland captain Jason White followed his club team mates into a lengthy rehabilitation.
Indeed, Sale's start to the match indicated more of the same for the Edgeley Park faithful, with an early Larrachea penalty miss followed by a successful kick from Jarvis.
But Larrachea gradually began to exert his influence on proceedings, some deft handling of the ball being backed up with a drop goal from the 'Quins 22 after 15 minutes that levelled the match.
A successful penalty then saw Larrachea edge Sale ahead, with the hosts scoring their first try in four matches after 22 minutes.
Poor handling in midfield was exploited by flanker Magnus Lund, the sometime England international combining well with centre Lee Thomas to exploit a gap in the Harlequins defence.
Although Larrachea failed to convert, another successful penalty conversion contributed to Sale's comfortable half-time lead.
Looking for their fourth win in a row, Harlequins mounted an impressive second half response, with Jarvis's first penalty pulling Harlequins back to within five points after 55 minutes.
And local hearts were certainly in mouths when a 45-metre Jarvis effort found its target with nine minutes remaining to secure the bonus point.
But it was left to Larrachea to ease the fears of Sharks fans, his fourth goal of the evening settling matters in favour of the home side and getting their title defence back on track.
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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