Harlequins 51-23 Sale Sharks, Twickenham Stoop
Marcus Smith impressed with 26 points as Harlequins completed a 51-23 bonus point victory over Sale Sharks in the opening game of the 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership season opener at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.
The win has taken Harlequins to the second position in the table behind Exeter Chiefs.
The visitors suffered a setback straightaway when Tom Curry left the field injured in the third minute and was replaced by Josh Strauss. He was stretchered off the field but that came after Smith kicked a penalty goal to get the Quins off the mark.
The scores became levelled in the 17th minute when Sale Sharks fly-half Aj MacGinty kicked a penalty of his own but centre Ben Tapuai crossed over in the 21st minute that was improved by Smith to take the Quins to a seven point lead.
In a span of six minutes, Sale Sharks made a terrific comeback with back to back tries. First it was MacGinty, who scored a converted try in the 25th minute and in the second the fly-half slotted the conversion on Marland Yarde's touchdown that came in the half-hour mark as Steve Diamond's men went into a seven point lead.
However, the Quins were unwilling to relent and made most of the final 10 minutes before the break with tries from Nathan Earle (35') and Tapuai (40') and Smith improved both as the teams headed into the second half with a scoreline of 24-20.
The home side were quick to get off the block in the second half with back to back penalties from Smith taking Harlequins to a 10 point lead that was reduced to seven when MacGinty kicked a three pointer of his own.
However, that remained the only points in the game for Sale Sharks in the second half while Joe Marchant (56'), Smith (71') and Max Crumpton (79') all scored further tries for Harlequins to complete a 51-23 bonus point victory.
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.
12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.
The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?
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