Sunday, 11th March 2018 @ 15:50
Jack Kenningham scored the winning try as Harlequins produced a stunning comeback to beat Sale Sharks and finish fifth at the Premiership Rugby Under-18s Academy Finals Day at Allianz Park.
Sale led 29-10 at one stage following tries from Ewan Ashman, Bevan Rodd, Tom Roebuck and Nathan Pope.
Harlequins had Sam Riley and Femi Sofolarin to thank for their first-half scores, but in the second half they produced four more to win the match late on.
George Hammond set the comeback in motion before Hugh Tizard and Jon Benz-Salomon brought the scores level, leaving Kenningham to secure the win four minutes from time.
Harlequins opened the scoring with a clever short line out move which sent hooker Riley away down the touchline and over in the corner.
But Sale Sharks’ reply was almost instant with Riley’s opposite number Ewan Ashman finding a hole in the Harlequins defence and racing under the posts.
Tom Curtis’ successful conversion put the Sharks two points ahead at 7-5.
Harlequins soon regained the lead with Sofolarin racing through to collect a kick over the top down the right flank and score in the corner.
But a Hammond yellow card gave Sale a one-man advantage to help them edge ahead through a Curtis penalty and a second score.
Rodd muscled over at the back of a driving maul only minutes after the prop forward had shown off his footballing skills with a delicate chip over the top.
Roebuck’s try came a short while after the interval, with the winger showing great hands on the wing to collect the ball and dive into the corner, despite the best defensive efforts of James Botterill.
Another Sale try soon followed as the ball was spread down the back line and an injection of pace and a good offload from Tom Walsh allowed Pope to finish in the corner.
With Sale leading 29-10, Harlequins then produced a stunning second half fight back to draw level with eight minutes to go.
Hammond pulled one try back following a powerful lunge from Harry Barlow, with Caolan Englefield finding his kicking boots at just the right time, slotting in the conversion from out wide.
Tries from Tizard and J Benz Salomon followed to bring Quins level and with five minutes remaining and a turnover in the Sale 22 gave them the opportunity to go on and win.
On the back of a five-metre scrum, Kenningham found the space to dive over in the corner and complete a remarkable turnaround for Quins.
Sale Sharks: Pope (Rooney 56), Roebuck, Doherty, Curtis, Walsh, Wilkinson, Ainscough (Davies W 56), Rodd (Brooks 46), Ashman (Davies L 50), Ford (Harper 46), Murphy (Higginson 50), Hill, Booth, Leatherbarrow (Papworth 46), Dugdale (Johnson 50)
Harlequins: Bond (Potter 54), Sofolarin, Barlow, Anyanwu, Botterill (Smith 43), Jardine (Allen 43), Englefield, Morris, Riley (Benz-Salomon A 47), Sassone (Benz-Salomon J 46), Tizard, Hammond, Glover (Dugmore 54), Everitt (Reid 43), Kenningham
Tries: Ashman, Rodd, Roebuck, Pope
Conversions: Curtis 3
Tries: Riley, Sofolarin, Hammond, Tizard, J Benz-Salomon, Kenningham
Conversions: Englefield 2
In this episode we mic up Harlequins Ladies co-Head Coach Karen Findlay and Harlequins Ladies player Davinia Catlin ahead of their record breaking match against Richmond.