Sale extended his Premiership record to eight wins, although Martin Landajo scored the first for Quins. Akker van der Merwe leveled things off before Marland Yarde, Byron McGuigan and Cameron Neild scored. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Bevan Rodd and Jean-Luc du Preez complete the scoring.
Last updated: 04/06/21 22:24
The Sale Sharks enter the final weekend of the Gallagher Premiership season with a chance for a home semi-final after a dominant 45-12 win over fellow title contenders the Harlequins.
Alex Sanderson’s men put in an excellent performance against the fourth-placed team to move up to second, tied on points with Exeter.
Although the Chiefs may fall to the Sharks when they face Northampton on Sunday, Exeter and Sale will face off at Sandy Park next week to decide who will win the most important home game of the last four.
Sale extended his Premiership record to eight straight wins, despite Martin Landajo giving Londoners an ideal start.
Akker van der Merwe initially leveled things off before Marland Yarde, Byron McGuigan and Cameron Neild opened a comfortable pad at the break.
It wasn’t as smooth for the home side in the second half, but Rohan Janse van Rensburg marked his return from injury with the Sharks’ fifth down.
Bevan Rodd and Jean-Luc du Preez completed their scoring late in the game, while the visitors managed a second score thanks to Will Edwards.
After securing their qualification with a victory over Bath last weekend, Quins decided to let several of his best players rest for this clash.
Joe Marler, Alex Dombrandt, Danny Care and Marcus Smith all missed the game, but a team that showed 11 changes in all started off brilliantly.
They signaled their intention early on by catching the hosts napping when a quick line-up and a wonderful break from Ben Tapuai moved the visitors into opposition 22.
Although the Sharks’ defense recovered and stopped the movement, they were powerless to prevent Landajo from landing moments later.
Tyrone Green, who has been extremely impressive this season, was the instigator, making the first break on the right side before finding Stephan Lewies. The lock then showed excellent skills at pulling in the last defender and sending the Argentine scrum-half scampering over the line.
It was a shock for Sale, but they reacted well and put Quins under pressure. The Londoners did not help each other, conceding a string of unnecessary penalties, but the Salford-based side were clinical in the opposing half.
An unanswered 40-point streak began when a neat dummy and unloading allowed Van der Merwe to break through the white before excellent hands allowed Yarde to score against his former club.
Sale is known for his great runners but, even if they didn’t make too many breakthroughs in the center in the first half, it still did damage to the Harlequins rearguard.
With Quins focused on the power of the Sharks’ ball carriers, the space opened wide and Sanderson’s men quickly gave their third try.
The forwards did the hard work narrowing the defense before Sam James threw a wonderful pass for McGuigan to recover and score.
All Sale needed for a near-perfect rugby half was the bonus point and it came when Neild took over. This time it was the straightforward approach that paid off as Van der Merwe and Ben Curry both carried strong before the blind side flanker hit the ground.
The Quins, despite their offensive prowess in 2021, struggled defensively and failed to find a way to stop the hosts.
Landajo tried to bring them to life after the turnaround as he took two scorching breaks and they were also helped by a yellow card for Faf de Klerk, who was sentenced for an unarmed tackle.
However, they failed to break through the Sharks as De Klerk was off the field and instead it was the hosts who added to their lead when Janse van Rensburg touched down.
Rob du Preez replaced AJ MacGinty, who had already scored three conversions, to add the extras, then took his side to the 40-point mark after Rodd touched down.
The Harlequins continued and were rewarded with a try from Edwards but they will have to settle for an away game in the play-offs.
Rightly so, Sale who had the last word when Jean-Luc du Preez went through the whitewash.