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O'Shea hails composed Quins

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea praised his young side after they claimed their second successive win in the LV= Cup with a 37-25 victory at Sale.

Mark Cueto was making his first appearance of the season for Sale after England World Cup duty for England and was instrumental in a decisive second-half try for Johnny Leota. Leota's 56th-minute score followed first-half tries from Will Addison and Alasdair Dickinson as Sale came from 14-0 down to lead 15-14 at the break.

Yet Rory Clegg kicked two penalties to put the visitors back in front and wing Seb Stegmann, 22, completed his hat-trick late on to condemn Sale to their second straight loss in the competition. O'Shea said: "We've set a challenge to some of the young guys in the last couple of weeks to keep the momentum going."

It was Harlequins' eighth straight victory this season and was well merited, with Tom Williams also scoring a fine breakaway score in the first half before Stegmann seized centre stage with his treble.

O'Shea added: "We've set a challenge to some of the young guys in the last couple of weeks to keep the momentum going. Not in terms of winning but about putting on to the pitch what Harlequins are like as a team.

"There were times when we went away from that as you would expect young sides to do, but the fact that we kept our composure and kept on playing was great."

O'Shea was loathe to pick out any individuals but he reserved special praise for number eight Joe Trayfoot, who never took a backward step all night. The Irishman said: "Joe's performance was magnificent and it was very nice to keep the momentum going. Exeter at home in the Aviva Premiership is a massively difficult game but selection is going to be interesting."

Sale executive director of sport Steve Diamond held up his hands and admitted his side were second best. He must now raise his troops ahead of a crunch home clash with Leicester next Friday. The result marked Sale's first home defeat of the season but Diamond was honest enough to admit: "The best side won on the night and our skill levels were below par.

"There are no excuses and our defence was woeful in certain areas. We've got a lot to work on and need to look at ourselves individually and collectively.

"We will back in for recovery tomorrow and then building for Leicester next week."

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