21 May 13
The J.P. Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s Cup took place at Old Reigations RFC on Saturday 18th May and was a day full of fast-running, thrilling rugby.
A strong scrummaging performance in the first half set-up tries from Danny Care and Mike Brown in response to a Tommy Bell penalty. This allowed Quins to take a 3-15 lead at the break.
A cool kicking display from Nick Evans in the second half extended the lead after Will Addison crossed for the Sharks, taking advantage of a Nick Easter sin-bin.
Sale had the early opportunity of the game when Mark Cueto made a break on the far side after four minutes. The winger grubber kicked the ball through for Will Addison. In a foot race with Mike Brown, the full-back fouled on his opposite number and the try was disallowed, so Quins cleared with a penalty.
Sale continued their early pressure when they powered up field on 11 minutes. Captain David Seymour made a break and began a phase of play with well worked offloads. The ball found Will Bordill who was well held up by Danny Care over the line. When the ball was shipped wide from the Sharks' five metre scrum, they knocked on allowing Quins to clear once again.
Harlequins gained some valuable field positioning in the Sale 22. After winning a free-kick at the scrum, the ball was shipped to Sam Smith on the wing. Despite Sale's best efforts to clear their lines, the clearing kicks went no further than their own 22.
Care was able break the deadlock on 22 minutes. Powerful surges from Johnston, Easter and Robshaw brought Quins right up to the try line, Care leaped over the top of the ruck and grounded the ball under the posts. With the conversion from Evans, Quins lead 0-7.
Quins kept the momentum from a continued dominant scrum in midfield, a great break from Jordan Turner-hall and an offload to George Lowe allowed Quins to get within 5 metres of the line. When the ball was shipped to Brown strong tackling by Cueto forced a knock-on.
On 30 minutes, Sale got on the score board thanks to the boot of Tommy Bell, the fly-half, on his debut, capitalised after Quins infringed in the lineout.
Seven minutes later, Evans was cancelling out Bell's penalty when the Harlequins scrum dominated Sale midway between to 22 and 10 metre line. Moments later, Evans was lining up a conversion following a try from Brown right on half time. From a well worked lineout the ball was shipped wide, the full-back danced around two tackles to cross in the left corner. Evans missed the conversion as Quins took a 3-15 lead at half time.
Evans was lining up a penalty early after the break when Sale were caught offside during a promising Quins attack, the kiwi fly-half made no mistake to extend the Quins lead to 3-18.
Quins made a second promising attack from the restart, a break up field from Easter, Evans and Tom Williams brought play into the Sharks 22, despite a knock on from James Johnston, Quins turned a defensive scrum 10 metres out, to an attacking one. The scrummaging dominance continued and Evans extended to lead to 3-18 from the boot on 51 minutes.
Nick Easter was sent to the sin-bin on 55 minutes after taking a man in the air during a Sharks lineout five metres short of the line. Despite Quins clearing their lines, Will Addison made a break in the midfield and after skipping round Sam Smith, the centre crossed under the posts. Bell added the conversion to reduce the deficit to 10-21.
In the following moments Sale enjoyed possession and battered close to the Quins line. A magnificent turnover from Olly Kohn allowed scrum-half replacement Karl Dickson to clear the lines. But Sale came straight back and attacked the Quins line from the lineout.
Nick Easter was a welcome return on 66 minutes as Quins returned to a full outfit after Sale enjoyed a vast amount of possession and territory. The momentum remained with Sale and they again worked their way up to the Harlequins line. A patient defence from Quins forced a penalty and the Londoners could clear their lines.
Momentum shifted and Quins worked their way up field after a break from Evans in midfield. The home side were offside and Nick Evans extended the lead to 10-24 with seven minutes to go. Despite possession changing numerous times, it was Quins that held possession in the final moments to secure a home semi final.
|Sale Sharks Score Card|
|Harlequins Score Card|