Sale Sharks 30-29 Harlequins, AJ Bell Stadium
A red card to Joe Marler and a decisive penalty from Faf de Klerk proved vital as Sale Sharks managed to edge out Harlequins 30-29 in their Aviva Premiership face-off at AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.
Sale Sharks now move to the sixth position in the table while Harlequins are at ninth place.
Sale Sharks dominated the opening stages as they scored two tries in a span of 11 minutes with Byron McGuigan (6') and Rohan Janse van Rensburg (11') going past the line while Aj MacGinty slotted the conversion on both the occasion to make it 14-0.
Harlequins fought back through a 19th minute touchdown from Alofa Alofa but five minutes later, MacGinty kicked his first penalty as Sale Sharks maintained 12 point lead.
The back three particularly enjoyed the final 10 minutes of the half as, firstly, Charlie Walker scampered clear to touch down before another turnover allowed Alofa to break through and produce the scoring pass to Ross Chisholm. Marcus Smith kicked the extras and followed it with a penalty as well as the first half ended 22-17 in favour of the hosts.
The visitors' momentum was dented in the 52nd minute when Marler was sent-off for a shoulder charge on the head of flanker TJ Ioane and despite the setback, they managed to sneak a try through Jamie Roberts and a conversion from Smith made it 20-29.
The disadvantage of having a man less eventually affected the visitors as van Rensburg scored his second try in the 67th minute to bring Sale Sharks into the game while a calm de Klerk kicked a conversion and a penalty that came with five minutes to go to complete a thrilling one point victory.
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Aviva 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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Aviva Premiership Rugby 2017/18 - Points Table
2017-18 Top Points-Scorers
Aviva Premiership Rugby 2017/18 - Leading try-scorers