Sale canter to big win
Sale started their search for a third Amlin Challenge Cup crown with a comfortable 33-10 win over 2012 champions Biarritz in Salford.
The Sharks eased to victory thanks to two penalty tries and a solo effort from Andrei Ostrikov, plus 16 points from the boot of Joe Ford and a conversion from replacement Danny Cipriani.
A much-changed Sale side had the Pool One game as good as won with half an hour remaining but they failed to kick on and pick up a try-scoring bonus point.
The Sharks moved into a 9-3 lead by the 20-minute mark thanks to an early drop goal and a brace of penalties from Ford, with Julien Peyrelongue initially having levelled the scores with his first success after 10 minutes.
The opening try followed after 25 minutes as a powerful five-metre scrum saw referee Ian Davies point to the posts. Ford added the straightforward extras and Sale were 16-3 to the good.
The score remained the same until five minutes after half-time when Ford added a third penalty before Sale surged further ahead with a second try four minutes later.
Russian lock Ostrikov showed superb skills to dummy his way through two defenders before racing fully 40 metres for his first try in Sale colours.
Ford's conversion from out wide put the game to bed with Sale 26-3 clear but Biarritz hit back with a converted try of their own when Eugene Van Staden rumbled over from a driven lineout after 55 minutes.
Cipriani entered the action after an hour but, even with Biarritz prop Francisco Gomez Kodela being yellow carded, Sale were unable to add to their tally until their second penalty try - again for a scrum offence - arrived with five minutes left.
In Pool Four, Bayonne left it until the final minute to claim what could be a vital bonus point in their 37-6 victory over French rivals Grenoble.
Bayonne, who brought on British & Irish Lions scrum-half Mike Phillips as a second-half replacement, are at the wrong end of the Top 14 but have now lost just one of their last nine games in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Stade Francais eased past European competition newcomers Lusitanos of Portugal 61-3 at Stade Jean Bouin. Julian Arias took his tally to 29 tries in Europe while full-back Jerome Porical scored 22 points, including two tries in the space of six minutes of a one-side Pool Five tie.
- Red-faced driver hits town bollard
- Mother 'gobsmacked' at having to pay for lost property
- Messy dog owners hit with hefty fines
- Tip-offs lead to fresh wave of police raids on suspected drug hideouts
- Multi-million pound A50 plan will 'improve road safety and ease conjestion'
- Drug baron jailed over cocaine ring