Premiership: Harlequins 51-23 Sale Sharks in Paul Gustard's first game in charge
|Harlequins (24) 51|
|Try: Tapuai 2, Earle, Marchant, Smith, Crumpton Cons: Smith 6 Pens: Smith 3|
|Sale (20) 23|
|Tries: MacGinty, Yarde Cons: MacGinty 2 Pens: MacGinty 3|
Harlequins began former England defence coach Paul Gustard's reign as head of rugby with an entertaining 51-23 bonus-point win over Sale.
Sale led 20-17 just before the break after AJ MacGinty and Marland Yarde, against his old club, traded tries with Quins' Ben Tapuai and Nathan Earle.
But Tapuai scored again on the stroke of half-time to put Quins in front.
And after the break Quins eased clear with further scores from Joe Marchant, Marcus Smith and Max Crumpton.
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The late scores for Smith and Crumpton put the gloss on the scoreline for Quins and gave Gustard a perfect start that he could not have envisaged during a tight first half.
In between Smith and MacGinty trading early penalties, Sale saw England flanker Tom Curry carried off with a head injury in an accidental collision with international team-mate Mike Brown before falling behind when Australia international Tapuai sneaked in under the posts.
They responded impressively when MacGinty went over after a powerful drive by the Sharks pack before Yarde reminded The Stoop faithful of his talents when he finished a rapid break against his old club.
Earle's try, following his move from Saracens, drew Quins level but only momentarily as MacGinty put Sale back in front from the tee.
But Quins never looked back after regaining the lead with the last play of the first half when Tapuai went between two defenders to go over.
Two Smith penalties early in the second half stretched the hosts' lead and the game looked over when Marchant burst through to score.
England scrum-half Danny Care set up Smith, who finished with a personal 26-point haul, for the fifth try before Crumpton crashed over at the end.
Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard told BBC London:
"Obviously we're chuffed to bits. If you gave me that kind of scoreline at the start of the day, a bonus-point win at home, I would have taken it all day long.
"Again, we made some errors and some mistakes. I'm disappointed with a couple of tries that we conceded, so for me as a defence coach, that's an area that I need to improve and we go again on Monday.
"I'm really pleased and really proud of the team with the intensity and the physicality that they brought today.
"The urgency in attack, the urgency in defence and the kind of improvements that we made through our set piece was there for all to see."
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:
"At half-time we had created some good opportunities and scored, then we couldn't receive kick-offs and get ourselves out of there.
"I wasn't too fussed at half-time if I'm honest, I thought we had enough about us if we could keep hold of the ball - but we couldn't do that.
"We made probably four defensive errors which are unlike us and they capitalised on it.
"I think our lot are a bit embarrassed of themselves, me included. We'll see what they're like at training on Monday.
On Tom Curry's injury
"Tom Curry's fine, he got a knock obviously to the head, but he's alright. Hopefully he can get through the protocols next week.
"The day we're living in now, if you're out, and I think he was momentarily knocked out, that's what you have to go through."
Harlequins: Brown; Earle, Marchant, Tapuai, Morris; Smith, Care; Marler, Elia, Collier, Symons, Lamb, Robshaw (capt), Wallace, Bothma.
Replacements: Crumpton, Lambert, Swainston, Glynn, Chisholm, Mulchrone, Lang, Lasike.
Sale: McGuigan; Solomona, S James, L James, Yarde; MacGinty, Cliff; Harrison, Webber, John, Evans, Phillips, T Curry, B Curry, Ross (capt).
Replacements: Neild, Tarus, Jones, Beaumont, Strauss, Warr, Jennings, Odogwu.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys.