Planet Rugby

Sale do the double over Quins

20th December 2009 17:06

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sale v quins hec dec 2009

Sale and Quins' encounter was almost abandoned because of snow

Sale proved they are a team for all seasons after overcoming 21-17 Harlequins in driving snow to maintain their hopes of reaching the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

Quins led 14-8 at half-time at a freezing Edgeley Park after tries from Nick Evans and Aston Croall but a 55th-minute score from Sharks prop Eifion Roberts edged the Sharks back in front.

Evans claimed a penalty soon after to reduce the deficit to a solitary point but Sale held on to record their second win inside eight days against the Londoners and maintain the pressure on Pool Five leaders Toulouse.

Quins have now lost all four of their group matches but they contributed to an entertaining encounter which was almost abandoned in the 70th minute because of the hazardous conditions.

Match officials asked groundstaff to clear snow from around the perimeter of the pitch and the final 10 minutes were played out.

The pressure was on Sale to ensure the match went ahead after the recent controversy caused by the postponement of the recent Guinness Premiership home clash with Wasps.

The Sharks knew victory would edge them closer to a coveted quarter-final berth.

And it came as no surprise when they forged ahead after three minutes when number eight Sisa Koyamaibole burrowed his way over from close range.

Charlie Hodgson missed the conversion and the visitors fashioned an admirable response which led to Evans darting over in the eighth minute. The New Zealand international fly-half successfully converted.

The cleverly-worked try capped a brief spell of sustained pressure from Quins but the pendulum shifted back to Sale momentarily in the 15th minute, only for Hodgson to falter again with the boot from a penalty.

Hodgson, as ever the fulcrum of Sale's attacking threat, then flighted a delightful cross-field kick towards the right flank midway through the opening period.

England wing Mark Cueto collected possession in mid-air and an astute inside pass to Dwayne Peel almost put the Wales scrum-half over, only for some desperate last-ditch defending from Harlequins to deny him.

Yet the visitors remained potent at the other end of the field and Croall engineered the space to touch down from close range in the 29th minute.

Evans kicked another two points to send Quins 14-5 ahead but Hodgson converted two penalties either side of half-time to reduce the deficit to three points.

As the second half progressed, the visitors' line began to lead a charmed life and in the 56th minute Roberts barged his way over from close range and Hodgson added the conversion.

A penalty from Evans cut the gap to one point in the 62nd minute but another three-pointer from Hodgson put Sale home and dry.

Then came the brief, late interruption caused by heavy snow but the action soon resumed and Sale held on for victory.

The Scorers

For Sale:

Tries:Koyamaibole, Roberts
Con:Hodgson
Pens: Hodgson 3

For Harlequins:
Tries:
Evans, Croall
Con:Evans 2
Pen:Evans

The teams:

Sale: 15 Nick Macleod, 14 Mark Cueto, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Lee Thomas, 11 Ben Cohen, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole 7 Luke Abraham, 6 Carl Fearns, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Chris Jones, 3 Jack Forster, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Eifion Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Gavin Kerr, 18 Martin Halsall, 19 James Gaskell, 20 David Seymour, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 David Bishop, 23 Marika Vakacegu.

Harlequins15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Tosh Masson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Will Skinner, 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Mark Lambert, 2 Tani Fuga, 1 Aston Croall.
Replacements:16 Chris Brooker, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 James Johnston, 19 Neil McMillan, 20 Chris Robshaw, 21 Steve So'oialo, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 David Strettle,

Venue: Edgeley Park
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Michael Black (Ireland), Richard Kerr (Ireland)

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