Aviva Premiership: Harlequins pile on misery for Sale Sharks
Last Updated: February 22, 2013 10:34pm
Maurie Fa'asavalu on the charge for Quins
Harlequins scored three tries as they extended their lead at the top of the Aviva Premiership with a 30-21 victory over bottom club Sale Sharks.
Cameron Shepherd's try took Sale into an early lead, but Quins controlled the rest of the half with Tom Williams touching down and Ben Botica adding eight points with the boot.
Botica continued his fine form in the second period with another penalty before converted scores from Nck Easter and Charlie Matthews sealed a fine victory, their 12th in 13 games.
Richie Vernon and Sam Tuitupou scored consolation efforts in the last few minutes for Sale, but they could not get close enough for a bonus point.
Just two minutes had elapsed when Quins were turned over in the contact area. Will Cliff then fed Henry Thomas and good hands from Tuitupou and Mark Cueto sent the full-back away.
Danny Cipriani converted impressively from a difficult angle and the league's bottom club led 7-0 but Botica quickly ate into the arrears with a penalty.
The London-based outfit began to dominate and with ill discipline at the tackle area proving costly, Harlequins' Kiwi stand-off added a second from the tee.
Another penalty then forced referee Martin Fox to send Tuitupou to the sin-bin and the away side profited when Williams touched down.
Karl Dickson took advantage of the space left by Cueto, who was lying injured on the ground, and his surging run was finished by the right winger, with Botica converting for a 13-7 lead at the interval.
The second half continued with the defending Premiership champions controlling proceedings and their fly-half took them nine points clear after another Sharks' indiscretion.
Harlequins' back-row Maurie Fa'asavalu then received a yellow card for punching Marc Jones, but a lineout drive saw Easter touch down, Botica converting, to take the score to 23-7.
Further pressure on the home team's line then led to Matthews going over, before Vernon and Tuitupou crossed late on as the home side rallied, but it was too little too late.