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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||Scarlets vs London Irish|
|15:00||Wasps vs Cardiff Blues|
|15:00||Leicester vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Ospreys|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Sale|
|15:00||London Welsh vs Saracens|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Bath vs Ospreys|
|15:00||Sale vs Scarlets|
|15:00||Northampton vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Saracens vs Exeter|
|15:00||Cardiff Blues vs Leicester|
|Friday 14th November|
|Ospreys 35 - 51 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 19 - 13 Scarlets|
|Sunday 9th November|
|Leicester 29 - 13 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 9 - 18 Gloucester|
|Wasps 43 - 22 London Irish|
|Saturday 8th November|
|Exeter 18 - 6 Bath|
|Friday 7th November|
|Newcastle 21 - 22 Cardiff Blues|
|Harlequins 31 - 21 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Ospreys 9 - 21 Saracens|
|Scarlets 7 - 24 Northampton|
|Sunday 2nd November|
|Saracens 25 - 20 Harlequins|
|Saturday 1st November|
|Northampton 37 - 23 Newcastle|
|London Irish 16 - 17 Leicester|
|Bath 47 - 7 London Welsh|
|Exeter 28 - 27 Gloucester|
|Sale Sharks 32 - 29 Wasps|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com