Premiership: Harlequins 42-26 Sale Sharks
|Harlequins (27) 42|
|Tries: Visser 2, Marler, Marchant, Yarde Cons: Smith 4 Pens: Smith 3|
|Sale (7) 26|
|Tries: Haley, Aulika, James, Harrison Cons: de Klerk 2, MacGinty|
Harlequins earned a third Premiership win of the season as they ended their losing home run to come out on top on a night of nine tries at The Stoop.
Tim Visser, Joe Marler and Joe Marchant scored in Quins' first-half burst of three tries in 12 minutes.
Mike Haley got one back for Sale before Visser added a second after the break.
Halani Aulika, Sam James' breakaway try and Ross Harrison pulled Sale back within nine points before Marland Yarde sealed Quins' victory.
On a night when James Horwill was unable to make his scheduled return after failing to complete his concussion protocol, Quins' bonus-point win came at a further cost as England forward Jack Clifford suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder.
But, after successive defeats to Leicester and Northampton, their victory was set up by a great start featuring three tries inside the first 24 minutes.
From England scrum-half Danny Care's superb lobbed kick to the left corner, Scotland winger Visser took it on the run to score.
England prop Marler then crashed over by his posts for his first try in a year before centre Joe Marchant got lucky to score with a charge down on opposite number James which fell kindly for him to score.
Sale had a second-half try-scoring burst of their own when they went over three times in 19 minutes to earn a try bonus point.
At that point, at four tries each, only Marcus Smith's three earlier penalties separated the two sides, but Yarde bustled his way over to seal Quins' win.
That ended any lingering hopes of a second bonus point for the visitors, who suffered their 10th straight Premiership away defeat.
Clifford injury adds to Jones' worries
Clifford's injury will be of concern to England boss Eddie Jones, who has already lost one number eight, Billy Vunipola - to knee surgery - for the entire autumn series.
Wasps' Nathan Hughes will not play at Saracens on Sunday because of a dead leg.
Clifford, who was part of England's most recent training squad as a replacement for Vunipola, was injured four minutes before the break, having been playing through the pain barrier because of chest and arm problems.
The injury blow was to the right shoulder which was operated on in April, preventing him from joining England's summer tour to Argentina.
Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston:
"It looks like Jack has dislocated his shoulder. It's frustrating for him because he played ever so well while he was on the pitch. But it's too early to say how long he'll be out for.
"To give an insight on where we are injury-wise, we had a training session here on Thursday night under lights and we actually had five players in doubt.
"Three of them missed and two of them got in and Jack was one of those. He had a sore biceps and pec on the left side, so he had strength tablets to get out on the pitch in the first place.
"To come away from the games against Leicester and Northampton with just one point, taking into context the challenges we were facing, I didn't think was fair. But to get five points against Sale I was very pleased for the players."
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:
"We paid the price for a lethargic start but were at least able to claim a bonus point after running in three tries in the final half hour.
"We need to get off the bus with the right mentality because we certainly didn't do that. I give the lads a lot of leeway in how we prepare for these away games but it didn't work here.
"We don't need coaches for the players; we need psychologists. It's frustrating. At half-time we asked them to get the bonus point and they managed to do that. It's a small consolation, but it's better than nothing.
"Without mentioning any names, one or two of our players didn't have the best games. For Harlequins, Joe Marler, Chris Robshaw and Danny Care all played well and when your senior players play well you can expect to win."
Harlequins: Morris; Yarde, Marchant, Roberts (Alofa 66, Swiel 71), Visser; Smith, Care (Lewis 71); Marler, Ward (capt), Collier, Merrick, Matthews, Robshaw (Elia 78), Clifford (White 36), Luamanu (Lambert 57).
Replacements (not used): Lamb, Swainston.
Sinbin: Swiel (79).
Sale Sharks: Haley; Solomona, James, Jennings, McGuigan; MacGinty (O'Connor 47), de Klerk; Harrison, Jones (Webber 47), Tarus (Aulika 40), Evans, Beaumont (Ostrikov 38), Ross (capt), B Curry, Strauss (Ioane 47).
Replacements (not used): Flynn, Neild, Cliff.
Sinbin: McGuigan (79).
Referee: Matthew Carley.