Sale 17 Harlequins 12: Larrechea lifts Sale spirits

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The Independent Online

It is becoming a mean old season for Sale who have lost Charlie Hodgson, Andrew Sheridan and Jason White to injury for the rest of the campaign and Stuart Turner banned for seven days for striking an opponent against Newcastle.

The side's chances against Harlequins were not looking good, especially with Quins having won their three most recent Premiership games, and Sale losing two of theirs. But Sale held on in a thrilling finish to clinch a narrow victory, which takes them up to third in the table.

Sale had by far the better of the first-half exchanges, save for an Adrian Jarvis penalty for Quins. In reply, Daniel Larrechea dropped a goal and added a penalty to make up for an earlier missed attempt.

The best move of the period came in the 22nd minute when the Sale centre Lee Thomas made ground towards the Quins line when Jarvis had dropped the ball. He fed to Magnus Lund, who passed, then took it back for a stunning try. Larrechea missed the conversion but then added a penalty, to make it 14-3. Sale pressed for the remainder of the half but Quins just held it together.

Jarvis began the second half as he started the first, with a penalty, and although Quins made a terrific mess of a five-metre scrum Jarvis slotted a third. With 20 minutes left, Jarvis missed with a drop at goal. Sale, meanwhile, had lost their way.

Their forwards were ineffective, the backs indecisive, and they looked as if they were not able to keep the ball out of Jarvis' way. The outside-half kicked another penalty to bring Quins to within two points of Sale but Larrechea's third penalty did the trick.

Sale: Tries Lund; Penalties Larrechea (3); Drop Goals Larrechea; Harlequins: Penalties Jarvis (4).

Sale: Robinson (capt); Foden, Taylor, Thomas, Ripol (Hanley, 44); Larrechea, Wigglesworth; Roberts (Evans, h-t), Bruno, Stewart, Schofield, Day, Bonner-Evans (Hills, 67), Lund, Chabal. Replacements: Titterrell, Lloyd, Martens, Mayor.

Harlequins: Brown; Strettle, Luscombe (G Duffy, h-t), Deane, Keogh; Jarvis, Gomarsall; Jones, Fuga, Ross, Kohn, Evans, Vos (Easter, 30-40), Volley (capt), Hala'ufia (Easter, 60). Replacements: Richards, Ward, Spanghero, Care, Mehrtens.

Referee: A Rowden (Berkshire)

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