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Sun 23 Jan 1:00pm AJ Bell Stadium Attendance: 0
Sale Sharks vs Ospreys
An impressive Sale Sharks ran in seven tries as they beat the Ospreys in their final Champions Cup pool clash, winning 49-10 at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The hosts were dominant throughout but the first 20 minutes laid the platform as they overpowered the Welsh, with Tom Roebuck’s try opening the scoring.
Although the Sharks missed several other try-scoring chances, Arron Reed went over to give the home side a 14-3 lead at the interval in Salford on Sunday.
Ewan Ashman and Dan du Preez then sealed the bonus-point before Harri Deaves got one back for the United Rugby Championship side.
It proved to be just a consolation score, though, as the hosts crossed the whitewash three more times through Curtis Langdon, Roebuck and Jack Metcalf to confirm the Ospreys’ European elimination.
The power was far too much for the visitors and they created several chances in the opening quarter, but only one was taken.
Reed had a score ruled out for an illegal clearout while both Rob du Preez and Lood de Jager knocked on over the line, which meant Roebuck’s try was the hosts’ only reward for their dominance.
It is that type of profligacy which has cost them in recent matches but they were in such control that it ultimately did not matter on Sunday.
Alex Sanderson’s men were in the ascendency in both attack and defence, and it led to a second try as Reed finally got his moment.
The left wing was indebted to the work of Ben Curry and Bevan Rodd, however, as the flanker turned the ball over at the breakdown and gave the ball to the England prop.
Rodd sprinted clear and then showed outstanding skill to find the speedster on the outside, leaving Reed with the easy task of touching down unopposed.
The Ospreys had barely been in the Sale half but they finally built some pressure when Dan Evans scythed through the home side’s defence.
Evans was brought down short of the line but they kept going through the phases and eventually earned a penalty which was kicked by Joe Hawkins.
Sam Cross unfortunately went down with a nasty-looking injury in the build up to that score and was stretchered off.
There had been a high attrition rate in the first half, with a number of Ospreys players going off for head injury assessments, while Sale’s Nick Schonert was replaced after suffering a lower leg injury.
With the Welsh region having an already depleted squad, it only hampered their chances further and they duly struggled in the second period.
Five minutes after the break, the Sharks extended their advantage thanks to a close range Ashman effort before another fine move ended in Dan du Preez sealing the bonus-point.
To the visitors’ credit, they continued to battle and were rewarded when Deaves touched down on debut, but it was not enough to spark a comeback.
Instead, Sale crossed three more times in the latter stages as Langdon, Roebuck and Metcalf all went over to complete a dominant win.
Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson: “It was brilliant in terms of the performance after having already gone through [to the Heineken Champions Cup last 16] last night.
“We maintained good discipline through overall physical dominance and then it’s easier to stay on the right side of the referee.
“To get that kind of display over 80 minutes shows me where the heads of the lads are.
“They want to kick on and build on from the first half of the season for the second half.”
December 12th 2021
European Champions Cup