De Klerk, Du Preez help Sale to title

Faf de Klerk and Dan du Preez scored tries helping the Sale Sharks come from behind to beat Harlequins 27-19 and claim the Premiership Rugby Cup on Monday.

With the victory the Sale Sharks claimed their first piece of silverware since 2006 and won England’s knockout cup competition for the first time in their history.

The Premiership Rugby Cup – which replaced the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2018 after the withdrawal of the Welsh clubs – groups England’s 12 top-flight clubs into three pools of four, with the top team in each and the best runner-up across the pools qualifying for the semi-finals.

Sale had progressed unbeaten to host the final after beating Saracens in the semi-finals, while Harlequins had lost just one of their Rugby Cup matches and beat the Exeter Chiefs away in their semi-final.

Despite a strong start to the final, where Sale took a 10-0 lead thanks to a try from Curtis Langdon and penalty from flyhalf Robert du Preez, the home side fell behind as Harlequins recovered and took a 16-10 lead into the break as Marcus Smith kicked 11 points to go with James Chisholm’s try.

Sale Sharks turned to their bench early in the second half, bringing De Klerk on in the 49th minute. The Springbok scrumhalf’s arrival appeared to energise his side after Harlequins extended their lead to nine points through Smith’s fourth penalty.

With 15 minutes to go in the match, Dan du Preez powered over the line to start the comeback before older brother Robert converted and added a penalty to put the Sharks 20-19 ahead.

The result and a memorable victory was sealed when De Klerk crossed for a try in the 77th minute, which was also converted by Du Preez.

Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

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Dylan Jack