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Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Saturday, 1 October 2011 18:43 UK

Harlequins 48-41 Sale Sharks

Harlequins (38) 48
Tries: Brown 2, Lowe, Kohn, Lambert, Evans Cons: Evans 6 Pens: Evans, Clegg Sale (17) 41
Tries: Miller 2, Peel, Cobilas, Brady, Tuculet Cons: Macleod 3, Miller Pens: Macleod

Nick Evans
Nick Evans (with ball) left the field to a standing ovation after another magnificent display at fly-half

Sale produced a stunning second-half fightback against Premiership leaders Harlequins to claim two points in a 12-try thriller at The Stoop.

Mike Brown and George Lowe put Quins ahead, Rob Miller pulled one back for Sale, before Ollie Kohn, Mark Lambert and Brown's second stunned the Sharks.

Dwayne Peel scored for Sale on half time before Nick Evans's interception.

Miller got his second ahead of tries by Vadim Cobilas, Tom Brady and Joaquin Tuculet for Sale.

The result gives Quins their best start to a season in 15 years and ensures they stay top of the table.

The hosts started well as Sam Smith's break put full-back Brown over and five minutes later they doubled their lead when several phases saw Lowe crash over.

Evans converted both tries before Nick Macleod pulled back three points in the 12th minutes.

Under pressure from the Quins scrum Sale conceded a penalty themselves soon after, which was converted by Evans, before Sale skipper Sam Tuitupou surged free and put Miller away under the posts.

Just as Sale were looking to get back into the game they were floored by three tries in six minutes.

Firstly Kohn barged his way over, then Karl Dickson set up Brown for his brace and then Lambert was forced over the line by his pack as Evans converted all three.

Peel struck on the stroke of half time after a mix-up by Quins only to fumble under pressure and pass to Evans, who went on to score, four minutes after the break.

Miller broke clear from half way to score for the Sharks as the hosts went all out for more points but then a 10-minute hold-up, after injury to Will Addison, provided time for the visitors to forge their fightback.

They secured their try bonus when Cobilas went over in the corner and further tries by Brady and Tuculet ensured Sale fourth place in the Premiership standings.

POST-MATCH VIEWS

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea:

"Sometimes it's tempting to look at how this type of game finishes and forget what went before. We played some wonderful rugby in very hot conditions and I was thrilled by our style and finishing.

"We're five from five yet the players are down. I'm glad. They won't forget this game in a hurry. I'm annoyed we gave Sale two points in the end, but they worked so hard at the end and we simply lost momentum.

"Sale are a credit to Steve Diamond. They played good attacking rugby right to the end and had us in retreat when, before the stoppage, we were really flying."

Sale executive director of sport Steve Diamond:

"I'll remember the last part of that game for some time. Quins are a very good team who have been together some three years, whereas we are a very new-look squad of lads.

"Quins took us to the cleaners in the first half and I had no complaints. They played good rugby. But we had a straight talk at half-time, the usual stuff needed when a side requires a bit of a gee-up. So we did very well indeed to leave The Stoop with two points because not many sides will come here this season and go away with two.

"It was very important that we did not go back up the M6 feeling we hadn't really turned up at Quins, and I see that as a watershed in so far as we could have really capitulated and shipped 70 points. Instead the boys showed great character."

LINE-UPS

Harlequins: Brown; Stegman, Lowe, Turner-Hall, S Smith; Evans, Dickson; Lambert, Brooker, Fairbrother; Kohn, Robson; Robshaw, Wallace, York.

Replacements: Matthews for Kohn (34), Clegg for Evans (35), Johnston for Fairbrother (47), Marler for Lambert (47), Bolt for Dickson (58), Buchanan for Brooker (58), Casson for Turner-Hall (60), Skinner for York (68).

Sale: Miller; Brady, Addison, Tuitupou, Tuculet; MacLeod, Peel; Imiolek, Jones, Thomas; McKenzie, Myall; Gaskell, Seymour, Easter.

Replacements: Briggs for Addison (71), Amesbury for Tuitupou (68), Higgins for MacLeod (68), Mathie for Peel (55), Croall for Imiolek (69), Taylor for Jones (55), Cobilas for Thomas (69), Holmes for Mathie (66).

Attendance: 10,802

Referee: Martin Fox (RFU).



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see also
Worcester 15-17 Harlequins
24 Sep 11 |  Rugby Union
Sale 29-21 Northampton
23 Sep 11 |  English
Rugby Union commentaries
14 Feb 13 |  Rugby Union


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