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Sale Sharks 12 Harlequins 27 Sale Sharks 12 Harlequins 27

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Sale Sharks 12 Harlequins 27

Nick Evans contributed 12 points as Harlequins claimed a bonus-point 27-12 victory over Sale Sharks to leapfrog their opponents and climb to fifth spot in the Aviva Premiership.

Quins had not won on the road in the competition since the start of December and went behind as Danny Cipriani produced a well-worked try for Tom Brady.

However, a solo score from Evans sparked Quins into life and Danny Care crossed the whitewash before the break to send the visitors in 15-5 up.

Sam Smith grabbed a third Quins try five minutes after half-time with Maurie Fa’asavalu poaching a fourth score with seven minutes to go to snare a bonus point that could prove crucial in the race for the final play-off spot.

Sale Sharks took the lead after just seven minutes as Cipriani created a fine try for Brady.

The home-side launched a ruthless attack off the back of a lineout before Cipriani master-minded a well-timed give-and-go which set Tom Arscott free and resulted in Brady crossing in the corner, though fly-half Cipriani failed to convert.

Quins were being penalised for their errors but with 25 minutes gone they found their rhythm and fly-half Evans sliced through Sale’s defensive ranks and finished off a brilliant solo-try – which brought the visitors level.

Evans converted to put Quins ahead and then slotted a penalty to put the Londoners in complete control of the contest and they extended the advantage after 24 minutes.

England scrum-half Care took a quick lineout and the visitors charged 50 yards up the field before being stopped five yards out.

After a couple of phases, the ball was quickly worked out wide where the instigator of the move, Care, crossed the line for Quins’ second try.

At the start of the second half, Quins penned Sale back in their 22 and after a sustained period of possession winger Smith broke a tackle and went over for the score, giving them a 5-20 lead.

Another flash of brilliance by Cipriani nearly resulted in a Sale response as the Sharks fly-half dinked a ball over the on-rushing Quins defence which was caught by Sam Tuitupou who broke clear before he was hauled back by the scrambling defence.

Sale gained confidence from the venture and a brilliant Dwayne Peel break gave Sharks field position to get over the line. Brady thought he had scored his second try of the evening but it was disallowed after replays showed the ball had been knocked on in the build up.

Quins were still searching for the priceless fourth try and it came from an unlikely source when England captain Chris Robshaw broke the shackles of the Sharks defence and, after an untidy scramble, Fa’asavalu touched down.

In the dying embers of the game Charlie Mathews was shown a yellow card and while Sale made their man advantage count with a penalty try it was too little, too late.

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