Match Centre: Sale Sharks 45-12 Harlequins

Byron McGuigan was one of the try-scorer for Sale Sharks
Byron McGuigan was one of the try-scorer for Sale Sharks

Sale Sharks 45-12 Harlequins, AJ Bell Stadium

Sale Sharks have kept their hope of finishing in the top two alive as they defeated Harlequins 45-12 in the 21st round of the Gallagher Premiership at AJ Bell Stadium.

Both the teams have already made it to the play-off but the victory means Sale Sharks have climbed to the second place as they face Exeter in a decisive final round clash in a bid to secure a home play-off while Harlequins are at fourth with 66 points.

This is also the eighth successive win in the Premiership for Sale Sharks.

Harlequins got off to a fantastic start with Martin Landajo scampering away to score in the first four minutes and Will Edwards kicked the conversion to take them to a seven point lead. The scores were levelled in the 12th minute when Akker van der Merwe collected a dummy and offload from Aj MacGinty to touchdown with the fly-half also kicking the conversion to make it 7-7.

The home side increased the lead further in the 23rd minute when Marland Yarde scored against his former club in the 23rd minute before Sam James sent a perfect pass for Byron McGuigan to dot down in the 29th minute. The bonus point came inside the opening half when Van der Merwe and Ben Curry combined to allow Cameron Neild force his way over as the teams went into the break with a 26-7 scoreline.

The Sharks were down to 14-men temporarily in the 50th minute as they lost Faf de Klerk to sin-bin for a no-arms tackle but despite down on the numerical numbers, they scored their fifth try through Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Robert du Preez kicked the extras making it 33-7.

Sale Sharks extended the gap further with Bevan Rodd also touching down in the 66th minute and once again du Preez got the conversion right. Will Edwards with a 69th minute try tried to provide some consolation for the Quins but it was cancelled out as Jean-Luc du Preez got his name in the scoring sheet to complete a comfortable 33 point win for the Sharks.

Team line up:

Sale: Hammersley; McGuigan, S James, R du Preez, Yarde; MacGinty, De Klerk; Harrison, Van der Merwe, Oosthuizen, Beaumont, J-L du Preez, Neild, B Curry, D du Preez.

Reserves: Langdon, Rodd, John, J-P du Preez, Ross, Cliff, Reed, Janse van Rensburg.

Harlequins: Green; Morris, Marchant, Tapuai, Beard; Edwards, Landajo; Garcia Botta, Elia, Collier, Lamb, Lewies, White, Wallace, Lawday.

Reserves: Baldwin, Baxter, Kerrod, Cavubati, Tizard, Steele, Herrod, Lynagh.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?

At Talking Rugby Union, we aim to provide match reports and news together with our specially commissioned features and interviews.