A return to Friday night rugby. And a return to winning ways.
Sale Sharks bounced back from their lamentable start to the season with an abrasive, grinding and, well, distinctly Sale performance, overturning Harlequins 19-10 to kickstart their 2016-17 Premiership campaign and begin anew their quest for a perfect domestic home record.
Despite losing stalwart flanker TJ Ioane to a nasty head/neck injury in the game's opening minute, Sale produced a composed and, when required, clinical performance behind Dan Mugford's fourteen point haul and David Seymour's second-half try to dispatch a torpid Harlequins side whom, given their star-studded cadre, massively underwhelmed.
With Mugford - a late insertion into the starting lineup due to AJ MacGinty's failed fitness test - producing an inspired kicking performance (a perfect five-for-five from the tee) to ensure Sale maintained a healthy lead for the majority of the eighty minutes, the Sharks survived a late first-half surge from Harlequins and a yellow-card to Jonathan Mills to ultimately preserve their first victory of the season, a result, that after Saturday's results, currently sees Sale up to 4th in the Premiership table.
And although neither side set the AJ Bell alight with consistent displays of dynamic attacking rugby on Friday night, Sale at least showed a far more spirited and varied offense than that exhibited last week at Kingston Park; a performance that augers well for the rest of the season, beginning next Friday against a Gloucester side who have been defined by inconsistency in the season's opening two rounds.
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