Sale Sharks produced a scintillating attacking display to dismantle Harlequins at the AJ Bell stadium with 48-10 bonus-point win.

Steve Diamond’s men dominated much of the opening period and deservedly went into the break 24-10 in front thanks to tries from Akker Van Der Merwe and the James brothers, Sam and Luke.

Quins had opened the scoring through an early try from Gabriel Ibitoye, while Marcus Smith added a three-pointer later in the half, but they were unable to hit back after the interval.

Rob Du Preez's penalty were the only points in the third quarter before Sale finished with a flourish as Rob Webber, Chris Ashton and Rohan Janse Van Rensburg touched down to complete a fine win and move into the Gallagher Premiership’s top four.

“I'm happy with the result.” Sharks director of rugby Diamond said.

“We did well first half, weathered a storm in the first seven or eight minutes in the second half and took that penalty which seemed to take away any anxiety, and then we opened up as best we could.

"If you run hard and create momentum, you can run away with it and we managed to do that.

"What we've got is big lads. The Du Preez lads are all enormous and the Currys, if you take one off, the next one comes on and there's no difference in our book; I know Eddie Jones thinks differently.

"We've got two fantastic players there and then the skill Luke and Sam (James) show week in week out is just outstanding."

The Sharks made good ground through the Du Preez brothers in the opening few minutes and pressed into the Quins 22.

Just as Sale were looking increasingly likely to score, a loose ball was gathered by Smith and kicked downfield before Ibitoye kicked his way through the Sharks 22 to go over to score in the corner. Smith added the extras to give Harelquins an early 7-0 lead. 

The hosts quickly looked for a reply and the visitors were soon penalised inside their 22 after great pressure from the Sharks defence after the restart.

Rob du Preez sent for the tee and successfully kicked the three points to reduce the deficit before setting up the first try.

With some quick thinking and a great inside pass the Springbok sent his international counterpart Van der Merwe crashing through to score his 10th try in Sale colours.

Rob du Preez followed up with the conversion and the home side were deservedly ahead after an action-packed opening 10 minutes.

Sale went over again in the 21st minute after an impressive counter-attack from the James brothers and Byron McGuigan saw older brother Sam score.

Du Preez followed up with a good kick from out wide to put Sale 17-7 ahead.

Harlequins then reduced the deficit to seven points through a Smith penalty after Sale infringed in the 22. The visiting half back had hit the posts moments earlier but made no mistake second time round.

Diamond’s men were not finished for the first half though and it was Luke James again who starred with an individual piece of brilliance to dot down with Rob du Preez’s boot taking the score to 24-10 at the break.

Sale began the second half with the same intensity as the first with a Rob du Preez penalty making it 27-10.

The Sharks eventually got their fourth try of the night in the 66th minute as replacement hooker Rob Webber controlled a driving maul to power over.

With Rob du Preez’s kicking at 100 per cent for the night there was no chance of him missing and the South African slotted home again to make it 34-10.

The hosts then put the South Londoners to the sword, scoring two tries in the final moments of the game.

With Matt Symons and Marland Yarde in the sin bin after a scuffle, Sale won a penalty form the restart and kicked to the corner to set up another line out. 

A great link move from Will Cliff and Chris Ashton saw the scrum-half send the prolific winger in unopposed.

AJ MacGinty added the extras to Ashton’s 85th Premiership try in first involvement after replacing Rob Du Preez.

MacGinty hadn’t finished there and the USA International found time to set up another score in the final minute as he sent Rohan Janse van Rensburg breezing through the Harlequins defence.

He slotted home the conversion to cap off a sensational performance from Sale that underlined their top-four credentials.