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O'Shea glad to get 'important' win

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea described his side's 24-3 victory over Sale as being "very important" as it was their first win in five matches.

The first half was dour with the only scores coming from penalty kicks, three from Ben Botica to one from Danny Cipriani giving the hosts a 9-3 interval lead.

Sale rallied briefly after the restart but a superb team try finished off by Luke Wallace and a further penalty from Botica set the Quins on the road to victory. A late converted try from replacement Jack Clifford rewarded Quins' second half dominance.

"We controlled huge chunks of the game and the win allows us to stay in the mix. The game is always challenging but you have to have belief in your young players," said O'Shea.

Quins took some time to subdue the Sharks and it was only 9-3 at the interval with an early try by Nick Easter being ruled out by the TMO.

O'Shea added: "We were disappointed that the try wasn't awarded and it made us become tight when I wanted us to play our way out of trouble."

Quins had to rely on youngsters, Wallace and Clifford for their two tries with the pair drawing praise from O'Shea.

"These two and Joe Trayfoot played the whole of the second half and it was a huge learning curve for them but they will have learnt so much today. I would have expected them to be our back row in four years time not today as they have been thrown in at the deep end because of injuries," said O'Shea.

Clifford had earlier replaced Tom Guest who was stretchered off in a neck brace after 30 minutes.

"Tom has gone to A and E but hopefully as a precaution. He has a head injury and had pins and needles but before going to hospital, the feeling was returning so hopefully he will be okay, " added O'Shea.

Botica assumed kicking duties in place of club record points scorer Nick Evans and O'Shea was pleased with how he responded.

He said: "Nick jarred his ankle just prior to the first penalty so Ben took it, was successful and carried on from there as we didn't want to aggravate Nick's injury."

Sale assistant coach Bryan Redpath confirmed it had been an unsatisfactory performance from his side.

"We made too many basic errors with most of the fifty-fifty calls went their way. A couple of penalties were a bit harsh and Luke Wallace was definitely offside when he collected the ball for the crucial try," he said.

In addition Sale lost the highly influential Dwayne Peel at half-time with concussion which Redpath admitted was a blow.

He added: "We had no option but to take him off which was disappointing as he was doing really well against Karl Dickson.

"It's unlikely Wales will pick him again as they are picking youngsters but if they ever needed him I am sure he would do a good job."


From Belfast Telegraph