Friday, 19th February 2021 @ 16:15
Harlequins continued their winning ways in a thrilling home win over Sale Sharks this weekend, with centre Joe Marchant marking his 100th Club appearance with two tries.
Early pressure from Sale Sharks suggested a tight, forward-centric tussle in Twickenham, with Quins openside Will Evans coming up with some spectacular breakdown defence to disrupt Sale’s momentum.
True to form, an Evans turnover in midfield would turn defensive masterclass into an attacking opportunity to spark the first score of the afternoon. With Evans pilfering possession and handing the ball back to his side, possession was soon shifted wide to number eight Alex Dombrandt. The back row bumped off two Sale defenders before feeding inside to fullback Mike Brown.
Brown fired the pass out wide to find Marchant, who raced in to claim his first try of the day. A Marcus Smith conversion took the Mighty Quins into a 7-0 lead with 27 minutes played.
Marchant struck for a second time less than five minutes later, benefitting from an Aaron Morris chip over the head of Sale wing and former Harlequins Marland Yarde. Once more it was Evans turning defence into attack to kickstart this score, claiming a loose Sharks lineout and carrying hard upfield before the ball was spread wide to Morris on the left wing.
With their tails up, Quins hammered home their first-half advantage with a 37th minute try for Dombrandt. The now familiar sight of Marcus Smith slicing clean through his opponent’s defence allowed Dombrandt to run a supporting line on the young fly-half’s inside shoulder, dotting down for Quins’ third and final try of the day.
A yellow card for Sale blindside Jean Luc du Preez shortly before half-time saw the home side head into the changing rooms 21 points up, with a one-man advantage and a clean defensive sheet.
The second half would prove a leaner affair from a point-scoring perspective, with Quins adding only a Marcus Smith penalty in the 53rd minute, taking their points tally to 24.
Sale, however, claimed two second half scores as they hunted down Quins’ lead, scoring tries through fly-half Robert du Preez and reserve hooker Curtis Langdon in the 63rd and 69th minute respectively. Both from close range, Sale reduced their opposition’s lead to 12 points, with du Preez converting Langdon’s score but not his own.
Harlequins had looked certain to add the fourth bonus-point score in the final seconds of the game through fit-again centre Luke Northmore, only for referee Ian Tempest to rule the midfielder’s score out for a forward pass in the run-up.
A fourth consecutive win for Harlequins as the team from South West London continue in fine form in 2021.
Final score: Harlequins 24 –12 Sale Sharks
Try: Marchant 26, 29. Dombrandt 37
Conversion: Smith 26, 29, 37
Penalties: Smith 53
Sale Sharks scores
Try: Langdon 63, Rob du Preez 69
Conversion: Rob du Preez 63
Mike Brown, Louis Lynagh, Joe Marchant, Andre Esterhuizen, Aaron Morris, Marcus Smith, Danny Care, Alex Dombrandt, Will Evans, Archie White, Stephan Lewies (Captain), Matt Symons, Simon Kerrod, Scott Baldwin, Joe Marler.
Elia Elia, Jordan Els, Wilco Louw, Glen Young, James Chisholm, Martin Landajo, Brett Herron, Luke Northmore.
Simon Hammersley, Denny Solomona, Sam James, Luke James, Marland Yarde, Robert du Preez, Will Cliff, Dan du Preez, Jono Ross (Captain), Jean Luc du Preez, Jono Ross, Josh Beaumont, Matt Postlethwaite, Coonie, Oosthuizen, Ewan Ashman, Valery Morozov.
Curtis Langdon, Bevan Rodd, WillGriff John, Lood de Jager, Covus Weise, Cameron Neild, Raffi Quirke, Connor Doherty
Next match: Newcastle Falcons vs Harlequins. Saturday, February 27. Kick-off 15:00