Visser double puts Quins back on winning track
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Tim Visser’s double powered a fast-starting Harlequins back to winning ways with a bonus-point 42-26 victory over Sale Sharks.
Marcus Smith pulled the strings in fine style and Quins had three tries before the interval at the Stoop on Friday night as Visser, Joe Marler and Joe Marchant all crossed.
Smith added all three conversions and two penalties in an impressive night for the youngster while Mike Haley crossed for Sale in an action-packed first half.
The Sharks have now lost ten in a row on their travels in the league and Quins sealed the four-try bonus point in the second half when Visser went over for his second.
But the visitors responded impressively and grabbed a four-try bonus point of their own in the second half.
Halani Aulika barged over at the back of a rolling maul, Sam James’ intercepted and went clear before Rob Webber went over from short range but Quins held on.
Quins made light of their recent injury woes with a dominant start and had the game’s first try inside 12 minutes when Visser pounced onto Danny Care’s delicious kick to the corner.
They did not have to wait long for a second when Visser went clear to take them close and England prop Marler powered over from close range for his first league try since 2013.
Marchant’s chargedown score soon after meant Quins had three tries without response inside 25 minutes, all converted by Smith.
But Haley danced clear for the Sharks to give them a foothold before Smith slotted two penalties before the interval to make it 27-7.
Visser powered over down the left for his second soon after the break and Quins were home and hosed with a bonus point – a fine response to consecutive defeats to Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers.
Aulika, James and Webber did claim second-half scores for the visitors in response as James O’Connor caught the eye off the bench but it was not enough to derail Quins’ victory, bookended by two late yellow cards to Tim Swiel and Byron McGuigan.
Tries: Visser 2, Marler, Marchant, Yarde
Cons: Smith 4
Pens: Smith 3
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Haley, Aulika, James, Harrison
Cons: MacGinty, De Klerk 2
Harlequins: 15 Aaron Morris, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Jack Clifford, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Ben Glynn, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Alofa Alofa.
Sale Sharks: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Denny Solomona, 13 Sam James, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Ben Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Josh Beaumont, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Alex Tarus, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 James Flynn, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Andre Ostrikov, 20 Thomas Ioane, 21 Cameron Neild, 22 Will Cliff, 23 James O'Connor.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Adam Leal, Wayne Falla
TMO: Stuart Terheege