Sale Sharks vs Harlequins

Third place plays fourth place in the heavyweight clash of the round. Sale is the form team and are unbeaten in the league in the past seven matches. They had an excellent victory in their last match against the log leaders Bristol. Harlequins are also in good form having lost just once in their last five league games. Both these teams rely heavily on their forwards to win matches and the Sharks certainly have the advantage in this department.They were dominant over Bristol with the Du Preez brothers and Curry brothers really coming to the fore.  Harlequins can thank their scrum for bailing them out against Bath as their all round play left a lot to be desired. The main reason for Quins having their best season in years has been their halfback pairing. They have the experienced Danny Care and the young superstar Marcus Smith. Smith has looked the complete package throughout the season but will need to work on his goal kicking as it was awful in the last match. These teams have been the most ill-disciplined teams in the league and have been very lucky to have won matches where they have been down to 14 and sometimes 13 men. Harlequins will be missing two of their best players Mike Brown and Andre Esterhuizen due to red card suspensions. In this match the better disciplined team will come out on top because you can’t defend with 14 or 13 players. The biggest news for the Sharks last week was the return of blockbuster centre Manu Tuilagi. He is one of the best centers in world rugby and in his brief appearance showed what an asset he is going to be for Sale in the play offs.

TIP: The Sharks have world class Faf De Klerk pulling the strings at number 9 and he is so good at managing the game. His a fearless tackler and always spots the gaps around the rucks and mauls. Danny Care will have his hands full trying to contain him. The Sharks game plan is simple, dominate up front and then use their dangerous backs like Marland Yarde and Byron McGuigan to score the tries. This may seem like a boring tactic but why change what is working so well. Their other major attacking weapon for the Sharks is their rolling maul with Akker van der Merwe at the back. The stocky hooker is a ball of energy and close to the line he is almost unstoppable. Quins will need an answer to the rolling maul otherwise they stand no chance of winning this match. The bookies have Sale as favourites and I also agree on the Sale victory. The best odds on the Sale victory are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.50, Playabets 1.48 and Sunbet 1.45

HEAD TO HEAD STATS

Sale Sharks vs Harlequins

  • The last six matches between these sides have seen three victories apiece.
  • The last seven encounters have seen the home team victorious in all the matches.
  • The last time Sharks lost at home to Harlequins was in 2015.

Latest results for both teams

The Sharks won their last match against Bristol 22-12 while Harlequins beat Bath 44-33 in their last match.

PREDICTION

There aren’t too many weaknesses when you look at the Sale team and they also have top class players on the bench. In the last match it was the replacement number 9 Raffi Quirke who turned the match when he came on. The Quins bench does not seem strong but they will look to their best ball carrier Alex Dombrandt to try and punch holes in the Sale defence. This won’t be easy as Bristol found out as they have Tom Curry and Jean-Luc du Preez who are miserly in defence. For Harlequins to have a chance of victory they will need to handle the physicality of Sale and I can’t see that happening as the Sharks have too much firepower in their pack. The Sharks will score a comfortable victory and I predict they will win by more than 10 points.

  • Probable Starting XVs

Sale Sharks

15 Luke James, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Manu Tuilagi , 12 Sam Hill, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Jean-Luc du Preez, 5 Josh Beaumont (captain), 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Bevan Rodd

Harlequins

15 Tyrone Green, 14 Nathan Earle, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 James Lang, 11 Joe Marchant, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Jack Kenningham, 6 Tom Lawday, 5 Stephan Lewies (captain), 4 Matt Symons, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Joe Marler

Odds for this bet

The best odds on the Sharks victory are as follows:

Worldsportsbetting 1.50

Playabets 1.48

Sunbet 1.45

Odds comparison on the Sharks handicap:

The complete odds on the Sharks handicap:

Worldsportsbetting (-5.5) 1.90

Sunbet (-5.5) 1.92

Playabets (-4.5) 1.80

Predictions and Odds in details

The power of the Du Preez brothers was one of the reasons that Bristol couldn’t get past the Sale defence and couple that with the Curry brothers who are among the best at winning turnover ball, its going to be an uphill struggle for Harlequins. The Harlequins attack is superb but their defence is among the worst in the league and if they continue with that poor defensive structure then Sale are going to have a field day. The scrums will feature internationals from various countries and if Sale can get the upper hand then they will win this match. They have the players to get them over the advantage meaning De Klerk will get front foot ball to launch his powerful ball carriers. I don’t see Quins coming close in this match. There is decent money on the Sale outright victory but I suggest the Sale handicap as it offers great value. The best odds on the Sale handicap is as follows: Worldsportsbetting (-5.5) 1.90, Sunbet (-5.5) 1.92 and Playabets (-4.5) 1.80

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