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Harlequins 37 Sale Sharks 14

15 Sep 2012
Harlequins 37 Sale Sharks 14

Harlequins fly-half Nick Evans showed his opposite number Danny Cipriani exactly what it takes to win the Aviva Premiership with a perfect kicking display against Sale Sharks in a 37-14 win at the Stoop.

Evans was faultless from the tee as he slotted seven from seven goal kicks on his way to a 17-point haul while Cipriani only recorded a 50 per cent success rate when aiming for the posts.

New Zealander Evans also engineered a bonus-point-earning four tries for Ugo Monye, Jordan Turner-Hall, George Robson and Mike Brown.

Sale could only muster one from Scotland international No. 8 Richie Vernon as their poor start to the season continued, leaving them without a win so far.

Quins took control right from the off with Evans spreading play wide to find Tom Williams who forced his way to within five yards of the try line.

From the ruck fellow flyer Monye took a short ball off Danny Care and powered over for a score inside three minutes which Evans converted for a 7-0 lead.

Sale hit back with a Cipriani penalty from 35 metres after Quins infringed at the ruck but the England fly-half’s rhythm was firmly interrupted when Evans legally flattened him as tried to set up a backline move.

But the 24-year-old soon shook off the effects to create Sale first try, scored by Vernon.

Centre Sam Tuitupou made a break off his No. 10’s pass and charged into Quins’ 22.

From the ruck the ball was worked left and wing Mark Cueto put Vernon in at the corner.  Even though Cipriani missed the conversion the Sharks were alive and in the lead 8-7.

The champions then turned to their dominant pack and from clean lineout ball won by No. 8. Nick Easter they had their lead back with a 34th-minute try.

From the lineout, Care fed Evans who glided through a gap in the Sale defence and found Turner-Hall outside him and the centre went in from 20 metres out. Evans converted and Harlequins were 14-8 up at the break.

He started the second half in the same vein with a calmly taken penalty when Sale were penalised at the lineout and slotted another ten minutes later when Harlequins’ pack shunted Sale backwards underneath their own posts and referee Tim Wigglesworth had no sympathy for the visiting side’s front row.

Cipriani and Evans then traded penalties after Sale’s forwards enjoyed a rare period in the ascendancy only for replacement Quins flanker Maurie Fa’asavalu to immediately put the home side on the front foot with a typical burst out of a tackle.

Although Cipriani slotted another penalty, Quins replied with a try by lock Robson which was set up by a brilliant burst through the middle of the pitch by full-back Brown.

And it was the ever-present Brown who rounded things off with a try with the last play of the game, meaning Quins have taken the maximum amount of points possible in the new campaign.

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