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Dan Mugford shines on home debut for Sale

Published 09/09/2016

Mat Luamanu was sent off in the closing stages
Mat Luamanu was sent off in the closing stages

Dan Mugford kicked 14 points on his home debut as Sale Sharks returned to winning ways with a 19-10 victory at home to Harlequins, who had Mat Luamanu sent off late on.

Mugford - who missed a crucial last-minute penalty in Sale's opening-weekend defeat at Newcastle Falcons - enjoyed a perfect kicking game at the AJ Bell Stadium to add to David Seymour's try.

Former England captain Chris Robshaw went over for the visitors and Nick Evans kicked a conversion and a penalty, but constant indiscipline hampered their efforts in a stop-start game.

No sooner had the game begun than there was a lengthy delay when TJ Ioane was knocked out in a tackle with Kyle Sinckler and Joe Marler.

When the game restarted, Harlequins' early play was characterised by big hits and handling errors, and it was one of the latter which led to the game's first score.

Mike Phillips' big up-and-under was knocked on, and when Sam Twomey was penalised for not rolling away, Mugford slotted over the 40-metre penalty.

Debutant Paolo Odogwu endeared himself to the home crowd early on, twice skipping through tackles to get Sale good territory, but twice it came to nothing.

They did not have to wait long for their next points though, the pressure from a rolling maul telling after 14 minutes, allowing Mugford to make it two kicks from two.

Indiscipline at the breakdown continued to hurt Quins and Mugford took full advantage from the tee as Sale opened up a nine-point lead in the 21st minute.

Harlequins responded well and after a series of penalties deep in Sale territory - all of which they kicked to touch - Robshaw barged over from close range, with Evans converting.

With the visitors looking fluent, more Sale indiscipline saw Jonathan Mills sin-binned in the 32nd minute but there was no further change to the score before half-time.

Sale refreshed their pack shortly after the restart and the changes paid off almost immediately.

Owen Evans was sin-binned when a big rolling maul was stopped illegally, and when Mugford kicked to touch from the resultant penalty, another big drive ended with Seymour going over in the 51st minute.

Mugford kicked the difficult conversion and, though Nick Evans' long-range penalty pulled three points back for Harlequins, the visitors were in more trouble after 57 minutes when Sinckler was sin-binned.

Mugford slotted the penalty over to once again open up a nine-point lead, before more indiscipline cost Harlequins dearly as they chased a way back into the match.

Replacement Luamanu was sent off for a shoulder charge in the 71st minute after a long consultation with the TMO and Sale, with their man advantage, held on for their first win of the season.

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