Sale 27-19 Harlequins: Faf de Klerk and Rob du Preez earn late Premiership Rugby Cup glory for Sale

Sale won the Premiership Rugby Cup by producing a grandstand finish in Salford on Monday night to claim their first trophy for 14 years.

Steve Diamond’s men surged into a 10-0 lead early on, only for Harlequins to score 19 unanswered points before the hosts staged a dramatic final-quarter fightback.

Sale struck the decisive blow five minutes from the end as South African fly-half Rob du Preez landed a penalty. Three minutes later he converted a solo try from Faf de Klerk.

Sale Sharks are the 2019-20 Premiership Rugby Cup champions after beating Harlequins

Marland Yarde (second from right) and Sale Sharks staged a late comeback against Harlequins

The rollercoaster late finish handed Sale a thrilling Premiership Rugby Cup triumph in Salford


The Cheshire club’s last title was back in 2004 when they won the Premiership by thrashing Leicester in the final. This success will provide a confidence boost as they seek to revive their play-off prospects and strive for a league and cup double.

In an attritional first half, Sale went ahead through hooker Curtis Langdon’s close-range try. Rob du Preez converted and added a penalty but Quins rallied impressively.

Marcus Smith was on target with two penalties to reduce the deficit to four points, then Paul Gustard’s side claimed a try eight minutes before the break as James Chisholm barged over. Smith’s extras and a penalty put his side 16-10 up at the break.

The Londoners’ No 10 was on target with the boot again in the 50th minute to extend his side’s lead, but Sale deployed their powerful replacements and turned the tide. 

From a line out 13 minutes from time, the Sharks pack drove hard at the line and Dan du Preez scored a try converted by brother Rob. He was on the mark again in the closing minutes as Sale completed their dramatic comeback.

Sale’s family affair played an important part as they recovered from being 10-0 and 16-10 down


Saracens are destined to go into their Heineken European Champions Cup semi-final against Racing 92 in Paris on Saturday without another key player, after Michael Rhodes was cited for butting Leinster centre Robbie Henshaw.

The South African flanker has a hearing on Tuesday and faces a minimum six-week ban if found guilty.

Saracens are already without suspended England captain Owen Farrell, while a host of their stars are out on loan.


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AC Milan 2-0 Bologna: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores twice but MISSES an open goal to claim hat-trick

AC Milan’s veteran forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice and missed an open goal as he secured a 2-0 win over Bologna to get their Serie A campaign off to a winning start on Monday.

The 38-year-old broke the deadlock with a towering header in the 35th minute and added the second with a penalty, the first in Serie A this season, five minutes after the break.

Milan extended their unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions as they started where they left off last season, suggesting they are capable of battling for a Champions League spot.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice to help AC Milan claim a 2-0 victory over Bologna on Monday

 The striker scored a towering header in the first before despatching a penalty after the break


‘If I was 20-years-old, I’d have scored another two,’ said Ibrahimovic, who has 14 goals in 22 matches since returning for a second stint at Milan in January.

‘I don’t want people to talk about my age, I want to be treated the same as everyone else. It doesn’t matter if I am 38, I want to be treated like someone aged 20 and do the same work.’

Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic added that Ibrahimovic was the difference between the sides.

Bologna’s manager Sinisa Mihajlovic said the striker was the difference between the two sides

‘They had Ibrahimovic and we didn’t,’ he said. ‘Everything they created came from him. Apart from that, it was an even match.’ 

Roberto Soriano nearly gave Bologna a shock lead after 90 seconds when his shot was deflected wide but Milan, who had lost their opening league match in the last two seasons, took control after that.

Ismael Bennacer missed an open goal before Ibrahimovic rose above the Bologna defence to head in from Theo Hernandez’s cross.

Milan went further ahead after the break when Bennacer was brought down by Riccardo Orsolini.

The 38-year-old missed an open goal to seal his hat-trick later in the second half of the game

Ibrahimovic rounded goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski but was unable to find the back of the net

The referee initially awarded a free kick but changed his decision to a penalty after consulting the VAR officials and Ibrahimovic fired the ball into the top right-hand corner.

He was presented with a gilt-edged chance to complete his hat-trick by Hakan Calhanoglu’s break upfield but, having rounded goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski, he fired wide of the target, albeit somewhat off-balance.

Substitute Federico Santander hit the bar for Bologna, who had Mitchell Dijks sent off for a second booking in the 88th.

One thousand spectators were allowed into the San Siro under COVID-19 regulations and Milan invited local healthcare workers to take those places.


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Pep Guardiola says he will play ‘mostly academy players’ in the Carabao Cup tie against Bournemouth

Pep Guardiola vowed to play a significant number of Manchester City’s academy in the Carabao Cup as injuries piled up before their season even started.

City were without seven first-team players for Monday’s impressive 3-1 win at Wolves to injury, Ilkay Gundogan joining the list after testing positive for coronavirus ahead of the game.

Guardiola’s squad have under 72 hours’ rest before facing Bournemouth on Thursday and the manager claimed he has no choice but to dip into the academy.

Pep Guardiola said he will play mostly academy players for the Carabao Cup tie on Thursday

Tommy Doyle was one of the Manchester City youngsters to make the bench against Wolves


‘We cannot pretend we can recover in three days and then another three days play again,’ Guardiola said. ‘We cannot expend the energy we did today (again) on Thursday against Bournemouth because of Sunday (against Leicester).

‘It is a lack of preparation, we have seven players out and they are not coming back soon. We will see how many players are available.

‘We would like to continue in the Carabao Cup but we don’t have players after this period, to be able to play every three or four days. We’re going to play mostly academy players against Bournemouth and try to keep the energy for the Premier League.’

Academy graduate Liam Delap (above) was also on the bench along with Adrian Bernabe

Academy graduates Tommy Doyle and Adrian Bernabe were joined on City’s bench by 17-year-old Liam Delap on Monday. Delap, son of former Stoke defender Rory, is a highly regarded striker and looks set for a senior debut against Bournemouth.

Guardiola’s fitness problems are mounting, with the Catalan suggesting that only Eric Garcia will recover in time for Leicester’s visit to the Etihad on Sunday. Aymeric Laporte is back training and should return, although Aleks Zinchenko, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero and Joao Cancelo are facing weeks on the sidelines.

‘Most of them are after the Leeds game, the international break,’ Guardiola added. ‘After that they will be ready. Laporte was not injured but only had one training session. Eric had 16 stitches but maybe the next game he will be fit.

‘Unfortunately Ilkay got Covid. I’m concerned for the society, not Man City. The cases are increasing, they’re still there.

‘It’s less aggressive but it’s still there. Aymeric and Riyad passed it and now we have Ilkay. I think he feels quite well now but he has to stay at home. We tried to be prudent, be alert in our private lives, but it is there. We are no different to any human being in society.’

Ilkay Gundogan is one of seven players out of the game after testing positive for coronavirus

Aymeric Laporte is back training and should return for the game after also testing positive

City are on the hunt for a new central defender and have interest in Sevilla’s 21-year-old Jules Kounde. The La Liga club’s sporting director, Monchi, claimed to have rejected a bid, with the Europa League winners wanting upwards of £60million.

‘There is no agreement with City,’ Monchi said. ‘It’s certain that in the last few days we have received interest from one club for Jules. They submitted an offer that was assessed by the board and it was rejected. If they come back, we will listen and we will respond.’

City will be encouraged by their opening-day victory yet Wolves were made to rue missed opportunities after half-time, with Daniel Podence causing problems to City’s back four but failing to take his chances.

‘It’s not about measuring the positives and negatives,’ Wolves manager Nuno Espirto Santo said. ‘We know how important moments in both boxes are. We were bad defensively in our box in the first half. We should’ve been ore clinical. City have talented players but we caused them a lot of problems. There are lots of things we can improve on.’


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