Friday, 9th September 2016 @ 22:15
Errors and discipline cost Harlequins as they fell to a 19-10 defeat to Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Three early penalties gave the home side the lead before a Chris Robshaw try closed the gap to 9-7 at the break.
In the second half discipline cost the Londoners as they picked up two yellow cards, and a late red, to all but hand the match to Sale who finished on top 19-10.
Earlier. Harlequins had arrived hoping to open the season with back-to-back victories after a hard fought 21-19 win in Round One of the Aviva Premiership.
Sale were looking to bounce back from an opening two point loss but the task was seemingly made harder after openside TJ Ioane was taken off on a stretcher in just the second minute after a heavy Joe Marler tackle.
Defensively both sides looked strong in the opening encounters but the home side would get on the scoreboard first with a Dan Mugford penalty in the sixth minute.
Mistakes would continuously cost Harlequins with handling errors and infringements handing two more penalties to Mugford who was perfect from the tee on the night.
It wasn’t until the 25th minute that Harlequins would get themselves into the game, Chris Robshaw going over from the maul after multiple attacks on the Sale line. Nick Evans converted to close the gap to 9-7, which would remain the score at the break.
While Harlequins headed into half-time with some momentum it did not carry over to the second spell.
In the 50th minute Owen Evans, on for the injured Joe Marler, was shown a yellow card for a cynical foul near his own line. Five minutes later his propping partner Kyle Sinckler would join him in the sin bin as the infringements tallied up.
On both occasions Sale would make them pay, first through a David Seymour converted try and then through a third Mugford penalty. While Nick Evans kicked a long range effort of his own, the hosts were on top 19-10.
The final quarter was ugly for Harlequins. While their defence held up they could not get anything going with ball in hand. Silly errors constantly halting attack.
With less than ten minutes to play it went from bad to worse as replacement back row Mat Luamanu was shown a straight red for a no arms tackle on Josh Beaumont.
As the clock wound down Harlequins chased a bonus point but a drop goal attempt from Ruaridh Jackson went well wide as referee Thomas Foley blew his whistle on proceedings. A try a piece but Sale Sharks deserved 19-10 winners.
Harlequins will be bitterly disappointed with the start to their campaign and next face a tricky away fixture to Exeter Chiefs before returning home to take on the champions Saracens at The Stoop.