Sharks take chunks out of Quins
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Sale Sharks returned to winning ways in with a sensational 48-10 bonus-point victory against Harlequins at the AJ Bell stadium.
It was the visitors who started quickly when Gabriel Ibitoye charged down the field to score, after Marcus Smith sent him through from a loose ball.
But Sale hit back straight away through a penalty and then Akker van der Merwe put the hosts into the lead with his try.
Sam James and Luke James both crossed for Sale before the break with Rob du Preez adding the extras to give them a 24-10 lead at half-time.
Joe Marler was sin-binned for Quins early in the second half but it was in the final 15 minutes that Sale went through the gears.
Rob Webber, Chris Ashton and Rohan Janse van Rensburg all scored to round off a resounding victory and move Sale up to third in the table.
Sale Sharks try-scorer Sam James said: “It’s nice to get that whole performance because we’ve been there or thereabouts the whole season and it’s good to push through.
“It was all about keeping our foot to the pedal. We let it slip off with mistakes in previous games but credit to the forwards here – they made big carries all game and that makes it easy for the backs.
“It’s a massive win – we wanted a performance like that to bring in the crowds. Hopefully we’ve done the fans proud because they make all the difference down here.”
Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard said: “I expect better from myself and better from the team. I don’t make excuses for injuries, it is what it is. We’ve got confidence with the players we have but we’ve got to do better than that.
“Our game management has to be better, our discipline has to be better and overall, we got beaten up. They were more physical at the breakdown, more physical in their carries and dominated collisions.
“At it’s very core, it’s not being physical enough and we got beaten up. The boys will respond, I’m sure of that, we’ll work hard and come up with a plan because that’s not acceptable in a Harlequins jersey.”
For Sale Sharks:
Tries: Van der Merwe, James, James, Webber, Ashton, Janse van Rensburg
Cons: R du Preez 4, MacGinty 2
Pens: R du Preez 2
Yellow cards: Joe Marler (Harlequins, 48), Marland Yarde (Sale Sharks, 65), Matt Symons (Harlequins, 65)
Sale Sharks: 15 Luke James, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Sam James, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Byron McGuigan, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jono Ross (captain) 5 Jean-Luc du Preez, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Will-Griff John, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Ross Harrison.
Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Valery Morozov, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 James Phillips, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Gus Warr, 22 AJ MacGinty, 23 Marland Yarde.
Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Gabriel Ibitoye, 13 Cadan Murley, 12 Paul Lasike, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Tom Lawday, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 James Chisholm, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Elia Elia, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Jack Musk, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Will Collier, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Semi Kunatani, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Aaron Morris.
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Andrew Jackson & Steve Lee.
TMO: Trevor Fisher.
Report by @premrugby