Kingston disappointed as Quins likely to miss out on home Anglo-Welsh Cup tie
Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston could not hide his disappointment after his side failed to clinch a home semi-final in the Anglo-Welsh Cup following a 13-10 defeat to Sale at the Stoop.
Quins could only manage a penalty try with Ruaridh Jackson kicking a penalty and a conversion, while Neil Briggs scored a try for the Sharks with Will Addison converting and kicking two penalties.
The hosts had already guaranteed top spot in Pool 3 but needed a win to give them the best chance of progressing to the final, which will be held on their home ground in March.
Kingston said: "It's unlikely that we will get a home semi now as we weren't able to nail it down but I can't fault the effort we put in especially when our line was under siege.
"We were without 16 to 18 players - some by choice - but Sale brought down an almost full-strength side.
"They were determined and experienced and probably just shaded the game but, after the disappointment of our European exit, I think we have regrouped pretty well."
With this win, Sale moved temporarily to the top of Pool 2 but are unlikely to progress further as they would need both Ospreys and Exeter to fail to win their remaining fixtures.
The Sharks were in control for much of the game but ill-discipline cost them a comfortable victory.
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond hopes the victory can hand them a much-needed boost before two key Premiership fixtures.
He said: " We needed to win as we haven't had a great season and wanted to build momentum ahead of our two home Premiership games against Sale and Wasps.
"Both teams needed a win and I'm pleased that we stayed patient as it's always difficult to beat Quins down here but we did get on the wrong side of a young referee."
Regarding building his squad next term, Diamond dismissed recent reports linking them with England and Bath fly-half George Ford.
He added: "We hope to have five or six new players for next season but I haven't spoken to George Ford since he was 13 so I'm not sure where all this speculation is coming from."