Marcus Smith was sharp off the kicking tee as Harlequins beat Sale Sharks 16-10 on the return from lockdown of the Premiership.
The 21-year-old fly-half was impressive in all aspects but it was his three first-half penalties and the extras he added to Scott Baldwin’s try that made the scoreboard difference at the Twickenham Stoop.
More than five months had passed since the last fixture in English rugby union’s top flight before this game, but the 2019-20 season has finally resumed.
Harlequins, beaten last time out at Bristol, returned strongly and had too much for a second-placed Sale side who thumped London Irish 39-0 in their final game before the coronavirus-enforced lockdown halted the sport.
On this occasion, Sale grabbed the first try when Byron McGuigan broke through early in the second half, but Smith’s penalties meant they still trailed.
Baldwin then took almost immediate advantage of Sale going down to 14 men after the sin-binning of Simon Hammersley to reassert the home team’s command.
His try came after 56 minutes and swelled Harlequins’ lead to 16-7, which was trimmed by an AJ MacGinty penalty with 10 minutes remaining but thereafter remained intact.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) August 14, 2020
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