Sale Sharks 48-10 Harlequins, AJ Bell Stadium
Sale Sharks came up with a six-try performance as they trounced Harlequins 48-10 in the round eight of the Gallagher Premiership clash at AJ Bell Stadium on Friday.
The win has taken Sale Sharks to the third place in the table with 22 points while Harlequins are at eighth place with 17 points.
Sale Sharks opted for line outs when they earned a couple of penalties early in the game but Janse Van Rensburg's spill allowed Harlequins with a lifeline as Marcus Smith picked the ball and offloaded to Gabriel Ibitoye for the opening try in the sixth minute with a conversion from the fly-half making the scoreline 0-7.
Nevertheless, Sale responded back strong with a penalty goal from Robert du Preez in the eighth minute. The fly-half was pivotal in the home side scoring their opening try when he sent an inside pass to Akker van der Merwe as he dotted down in the 11th minute and a conversion made the scoreline 10-7.
Steve Diamond's men further extended their lead by the start of the second quarter with Sam James crossing the whitewash followed by Du Preez's extras. Even though Harlequins reduced the deficit with a penalty kick from Smith, Luke James' try at the stroke of half-time meant the teams completed the first half with a 24-10 scoreline.
Harlequins started a tough second half with a setback as Joe Marler was sin-binned for striking with forearm into the head of Jean-Luc Du Preez and Robert du Preez kicked a penalty goal making the scoreline 27-10.
Sale failed to make use of the numerical advantage but they soon went on to claim the bonus point after the Quins returned to full-strength as Rob Webber went over the line at the back of a maul but both the sides were reduced to 14-men by the 66th minute with both Marland Yarde and Matt Symons sin-binned as a scuffle broke at the back of the try.
With the Quins failing to score a point in the second half, Chris Ashton and Rohan Janse van Rensburg scored tries in the final 10 minutes to complete a 38-point victory for Sale Sharks.
"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," said Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard.
"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."
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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