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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.
Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com