Amlin Challenge Cup: Sale Sharks record 33-10 win over Biarritz
Last Updated: 10/10/13 10:17pm
Sale Sharks maintained their fine start to the season with a thumping 33-10 win over a bedraggled Biarritz in their Amlin Challenge Cup opener.
Joe Ford impressed on his first Sale start by kicking 16 points at AJ Bell Stadium, while a penalty try in each half and superb Andrei Ostrikov effort ensured the hosts' dominance was reflected on the scoreboard.
Tighthead Eugene van Staden crashed over for a second-half score for the visitors but it was a night to forget for a Biarritz pack that were given a torrid time in the scrum as they crashed to a club record eighth successive defeat.
Sale coach Steve Diamond made a raft of changes for the visit of the Top 14's basement side but they took no time in finding their rhythm.
Ford broke the deadlock after three minutes following a scrum penalty, and although captain Julien Peyrelongue levelled for Biarritz, the Sale fly-half quickly responded with a drop goal and a further penalty.
Mark Easter squandered a glorious scoring opportunity on 23 minutes but Sale didn't have long to wait for the opening try. A powerful five-metre scrum put the Biarritz pack in reverse and referee Ian Davies had no hesitation in running underneath the posts.
Sale led 16-3 at the interval courtesy of a late Ford penalty, and the youngster was again on target after the restart as the game began to open up.
The hosts bagged their second try on 50 minutes when Dan Braid intercepted and palmed the ball back to Andrei Ostrikov, who dummied his way through two defenders for a sumptuous score.
Van Staden responded for Biarritz, driving over after a well-worked lineout move, but their hopes of a comeback were crushed when his replacement, Gomez Kodela, was sin-binned with 15 minutes remaining.
A second penalty try arrived on 74 minutes, but despite some fierce late pressure, Sale were unable to bag a bonus point-clinching fourth try in the closing stages.
In Thursday's other Challenge Cup ties, Stade Francais romped to a facile 61-3 victory over Portuguese debutants Lusitanos, while Bayonne were convincing 37-6 winners over fellow French side Grenoble.