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Match Reaction: Harlequins 29 Sale Sharks 26

Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston was bursting with pride after his side dealt with three front-row injuries to beat Sale Sharks 29-26 in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Sale outscored their hosts by three tries to two, with Denny Solomona twice going over either side of Byron McGuigan’s effort.

But tries for Charlie Walker and Tim Swiel – who came on early in the game for Nick Evans – were enough, with fly-half Swiel also adding 19 points from the tee.

Adam Jones was called into the squad after Joe Marler was ruled out ahead of the game, and found himself thrust into the action alongside Kyle Sinckler far earlier than expected, when both Owen Evans and Will Collier were forced off with injuries.

And Kingston was ecstatic his side had adapted to the situation to hold on to their unbeaten home record, which has now seen them win ten games from ten in all competitions this term.

“The win was a massive positive as we dealt with every challenge with unbelievable tenacity, which shows the togetherness of the team,” he said. “I’m really proud of them today.

“Will Collier has broken his ankle and Joe (Marler) had a problem that he picked up against Gloucester, and he had another knock on it at Worcester last week.

“He didn’t train with England in the week but we did a bit yesterday and he began to feel it in the warm-up. We left it up to him and we erred on the side of caution.

“[Adam] was phoned at 11:30am because unfortunately [forwards coach] Graham Rowntree couldn’t make it.

“He drove up and he took on the forwards coach position, and he took the warm up until he realised he was going to have to warm up himself.

“I’ve been working in this industry for 20 years and I don’t think I know a more professional man.”

Meanwhile Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond admitted he was pleased to take a losing-bonus point back to Manchester.

Rugby league convert Solomona was impressive once more, and has now scored four tries in three outings, while Will Addison added 11 points from the tee.

Diamond said: “I’m satisfied with the bonus point as I’ve come down here before and lost by 50 points.

“Our performances in the past two weeks have been much better and if we play like that, we won’t lose another game at home this season.

“We need to get security in this competition ahead of recruitment for next season but we need to have a bit more control and get the ball to Denny (Solomona), who certainly knows where the whitewash is.”

Harlequins: Brown, Yarde, Alofa, Marchant (Hopper 71), Walker, N Evans (Swiel 6), Care (Dickson 69), O Evans (Jones 21), Buchanan, Collier (Sinckler 7), Merrick, Matthews, Wallace (Naoupu 62), Ward, Chisholm

Not used: Gray, South

Sale Sharks: Haley, Solomona, Addison, Leota, McGuigan, James, Mitchell (Phillips 61), Harrison (Flynn 68), Webber (Briggs 61), Aulika, Evans, Ostrikov (Mills 61), Neild, Ioane, Beaumont (Curry 50)

Not used: MacGinty, Charnley

Harlequins 29

Tries: Walker, Swiel

Cons: Swiel 2

Pens: Swiel 5

Sale Sharks 26

Tries: Solomona 2, McGuigan

Con: Addison

Pens: Addison 3

Referee: JP Doyle

Attendance: 14,148

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