Quins punished two errors in the final six minutes which took the home team out of sight and onto a deserved victory. On 74 minutes, a long pass slung across defence by Macleod landed near Cueto's feet, leaving the winger with no option but to boot hard. Quins full back Brown eagerly accepted the offering, setting up a try for Robson. At the death, inexperience from Cliff led to the concession of a penalty and this time it was the onrushing Brown who cashed in. Quins' Man of the Match Evans converted both.
Sharks had overcome the setback of a second minute try by Monye, and chipped away at the home defence. Cipriani missed a difficult penalty chance four minutes later, but made no mistake with ten minutes gone from a harder chance.
Sharks, who have been criticised during the season's early throes for their error count, were forcing the Quins to knock on and took a 23rd minute lead. Tuitupou broke the gain line down the left, supplying the killer pass for Vernon to edge the Sharks ahead. Cipriani's conversion attempt smacked the post.
Cueto threatened down the left but couldn't find Miller. Play switched upfield and, after a Quins' lineout, Evans broke through the middle to send Turner-Hall over for a try before adding the two points for a 14-8 lead. Brady caught the re-start and another promising Sharks move was ended when they were guilty of crossing.
From a Sharks' perspective the first half was much more promising fare against their most difficult opponents, but the Quins showed the mettle of champions after the resumption. Despite good attacks from Leota and Vernon, the deadly boot of Evans fired over penalties on 44 and 52 minutes, the second after the visiting scrum was reduced to a tangle in front of the posts.
Roberts peeled away after a lineout drive, then Tuitupou was held as the Sharks clearly felt they could play ambitiously and gain reward . Cipriani sent a low, swerving penalty over on the hour to reduce the deficit to nine points, but it took Evans just four minutes to redress the balance.
Leota and Myall combined down the left and Miller was twice stopped in his tracks. Cipriani sent over his third penalty of the afternoon on 69 minutes to make the score 23-14. Then came the late concession of fourteen points through basic errors, justly punished by a forceful, accomplished champion side.
Bryan Redpath said afterwards, "Quins were more composed, but at half time, with the score 14-8, I didn't think it was a huge challenge for us to get back into the game. We didn't hold onto the ball well enough. It looks like we got a beating, but it was never as far away as that."
Scoring: (Quins first) 7-0, 7-3, 7-8, 14-8 (Half Time) 17-8, 20-8, 20-11, 23-11, 23-14, 30-14, 37-14.
Squad: 15.Rob Miller, 14.Tom Brady, 13.Johnny Leota, 12.Sam Tuitupou, 11.Mark Cueto, 10.Danny Cipriani, 9.Dwayne Peel, 1.Eifion Lewis-Roberts, 2.Joe Ward, 3.Vadim Cobilas, 4.Richie Gray, 5.Kearnan Myall, 6.James Gaskell, 7.David Seymour (capt.), 8.Richie Vernon
Replacements: 16.Tommy Taylor (not used), 17.Alasdair Dickinson for Lewis-Roberts (64), 18.Henry Thomas for Cobilas (48), 19.Fraser McKenzie for Gray (76), 20.Mark Easter for Gaskell (50), 21.Will Cliff for Peel (21-32, 60), 22.Nick Macleod for Cipriani (72), 23.Mark Jennings (not used)
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