Harlequins 16-10 Sale Sharks, Twickenham Stoop
Scott Baldwin scored a solitary try while Marcus Smith contributed with 11 points as Harlequins edged out Sale Sharks 16-10 at Twickenham Stoop on Friday.
This was the first game of the competition since the Premiership was suspended since March following the pandemic coronavirus.
For Sale Sharks, Manu Tuilagi made his debut since switching from Leicester Tigers while Chris Ashton started for first time for Harlequins.
This is sixth win for Harlequins in 14 games as they moved to the sixth place in the table with 32 points while Sale Sharks are at second with 41 points.
The opening quarter saw the home side take a slender six-point lead with back to back penalties from Smith before the fly-half kicked another three-pointer in the 32nd minute to take the hosts to a nine-point lead. Sale Sharks had a chance to open their account before the break but a kick from Robert du Preez went wide.
Sale regrouped after the break and opened their account straightaway in the second half when Byron McGuigan touched down after a decoy from Tuilagi followed by du Preez's conversion to make the scoreline 9-7. However, their momentum took a beating when Simon Hammersley was yellow-carded in the 56th minute.
Paul Gustard's men made full use of the numerical advantage as Baldwin dotted down in the 57th minute and Smith's conversion made the scoreline 16-7 before replacement Aj MacGinty kicked a 71st minute penalty goal to provide some hope for the visitors but Quins held defence to complete a six-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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