Harlequins secured top spot on the Aviva Premiership table with a 24-10 win over Sale at Edgeley Park on Saturday.
Harlequins secured top spot on the Aviva Premiership table with a 24-10 win over Sale at Edgeley Park.
Against a weakened Sale outfit, Harlequins took a 15-3 half-time lead through tries from Danny Care and Mike Brown. Nick Evans added a conversion and a penalty with Tommy Bell responding for the hosts.
Three more Evans' three-pointers sealed the victory and top position in the Aviva Premiership, despite Will Addison's consolation try for the hosts.
Despite their handicap, it was Sale who started the brighter with Addison and Tom Brady going close to crossing the whitewash.
Eventually, Quins superior experience, power and verve told, and Care went over after several charges from their forwards with Evans converting.
Bell reduced the deficit for the Sharks after 31 minutes before Evans took the score out to 10-3 with one of his own.
But the visitors continued to look the more threatening and, on the stroke of half-time, Brown latched onto his fly-half's sweet pass to touch down for an unconverted score.
Harlequins continued to press in the second half and deservedly went further into lead with two Evans' penalties.
However, when Nick Easter was sin-binned for the visitors, Addison scampered clear from the halfway line and touched down.
But they couldn't mount a comeback and Evans secured the win with a three-pointer, and a home semi-final position.
As for Sale, despite the defeat, they will play Heineken Cup rugby next season because of Leicester's victory over Bath.
Tries: Brown, Care
Pens: Evans 4
Yellow cards: Easter (Harlequins)
Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Will Addison, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Tommy Bell, 9 Scott Mathie, 8 Mark Easter, 7 David Seymour (capt), 6 Will Bordill, 5 Tom Holmes, 4 Kearnan Myall, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Lee Imiolek.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Joe Ward, 19 Billy Emerson, 20 Jordan Davies, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Iain Thornley, 23 Charlie Amesbury.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Matt Hopper.
Referee: Martin Fox