Premiership Rugby Cup Round 4 Review: Sharks perfect in Pool 2

**Six-star Sale Sharks put Harlequins to the sword on Friday night as they set the tone for an entertaining weekend of Premiership Rugby Cup action.**

Sharks have certainly impressed in the league and have been just as classy in the cup, winning each of their three fixtures to secure top spot in Pool 2.

Then, on Saturday, Leicester Tigers beat Saracens, while Gloucester Rugby overcame Bristol Bears and Northampton Saints edged Newcastle Falcons.

There is just one more fixture to be played before February’s semi-finals are finalised, with Exeter Chiefs hosting Gloucester on December 4.

**Sharks perfect in Pool 2**

Sale Sharks’ 40-19 victory against Harlequins came largely as a result of a ruthless second-half display, having initially trailed after loanee Curtis Barnes’ corner score.

Sharks responded through No.8 Rouban Birch, who grabbed the first of his two tries after darting off the back of a scrum from five meters out.

Matt Postlethwaite then muscled his way over for the hosts before Tom Lawday scored on his return to the Quins side to keep them just two points back.

But Sharks then ran rampant, crossing on three occasions to put the game beyond reach. Birch added his second to him, Ethan Caine delivered the bonus point and replacement fly-half Kieran Wilkinson scored a brilliant solo effort to take the score to 33-12.

Cameron Anderson thought he had given Quins the last laugh with a score two minutes from time before academy product Wilkinson put the gloss on an excellent night for the northerners at AJ Bell Stadium.

**Tigers go out with a bang in big win at Saracens**

Leicester Tigers went one better in their win in north London, running in seven tries to see off Saracens 45-8 as they finished their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign in style.

Both sides were searching for their first win of the competition but it was Tigers who prevailed with a brilliant all-round performance which saw them achieve a second-half shutout.

Marcus Ramage got them up and running before Tobias Elliott leveled for a youthful Saracens side.

Sean Jansen then powered over twice either side of a try from Cameron Henderson as the visitors took full control.

The strength of the Tigers bench then paid dividends, with front-row replacements Francois van Wyk and Tom Horton both registering as Tigers secured only their third ever win at StoneX Stadium, avenging the heavy league defeat suffered in October.

**Morris puts Gloucester on course for final four**

Gloucester Rugby held off a second-half Bristol Bears fightback to give them every chance of progressing to the semi-finals after a 38-31 success.

Jake Morris was the toast of Kingsholm, opening the scoring inside two minutes as the Cherry & Whites delivered an assured first-half performance.

Jack Clement grabbed the second and Ciaran Knight the third after a neat 50:22 from Tom Seabrook.

Bears pulled one back through Tom Whiteley to cut Gloucester’s lead to just nine but the buffer was restored and the bonus point secured when Seb Atkinson pounced on a loose ball inside the Bears 22 to race in under the posts for his first Gloucester try.

Morris notched his second eight minutes into the second half before the Bears enjoyed something of a revival.

James Williams started the fightback before Whiteley crossed again, with the score at 31-24 inside the final quarter.

But Seb Blake put the tie beyond doubt, though Freddie Davies’ late consolation try earnt the Bears a losing bonus point.

Gloucester’s second win means they remain unbeaten in the competition and move into pole position in Pool 1 though that could all change after their trip to Sandy Park in a fortnight’s time.

**Saints on course for semi-finals after edging Falcons**

The weekend’s action concluded at Kingston Park where Northampton Saints held on for a precious 31-28 victory over Newcastle Falcons.

Saints raced into a 21-0 lead courtesy of scores from Geordie Irvine and Brandon Nansen, who crossed for the first time in Saints colours, and the ever-lively Courtnall Skosan.

But Falcons responded in emphatic fashion, scoring three tries of their own to go in level at the break.

Jamie Blamire touched down from the back of a lineout before Zach Kerr rounded off a great team move with a score in the left corner.

The Falcons forwards again made their presence known just before the break, with Guy Pepper the man to score amid a heap of bodies.

Saints were quicker off the mark after the restart, with Robbie Smith adding his name to the scoresheet as Saints assumed a 28-21 lead.

Joel Matavesi then remained ice cool from tee to move his side further ahead which meant that debutant Vereimi Qorowale’s stunning late score counted for little.

The post Premiership Rugby Cup Round 4 Review: Sharks perfect in Pool 2 appeared first on Premiership Rugby.

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