Laurence Pearce crosses twice as Sale crush Cardiff
Laurence Pearce touched down twice as Sale Sharks moved to the top of Pool 2 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup following a dominant 41-3 triumph over an inexperienced Cardiff Blues side.
Denny Solomona and Jonathan Mills tries gave the Sharks a 14-0 lead before the Welsh region got on the board via Jarrod Evans' penalty.
Another score, this time from Pearce, opened that advantage at the interval before the number eight added a second after the break.
Neil Briggs and James Flynn also went over for Sale, while they were also awarded a penalty try as they handed the Blues their third successive defeat in the competition.
The Greater Manchester outfit went into the contest with a far more experienced squad but it was their opponents who controlled the early exchanges.
They had an opportunity to take the lead through Evans but his effort narrowly missed the target and the visitors duly paid for that piece of profligacy.
With the hosts making too many errors in their attempt to play an up-tempo game, a youthful Cardiff side initially managed to hold firm but, once Steve Diamond's men found their rhythm, the Welsh region wilted.
That was evident in Sale's first score. The forwards gained ground far too easily and, after good work from Bryn Evans and Pearce had got them deep into the 22, Tom Curry sent Solomona across the whitewash.
The Blues attempted to hit back, attacking the opposition defence from a five-metre lineout before spreading it wide to their backline.
Their accuracy was lacking, however, and a knock-on relieved the pressure, an error which allowed the Sharks to mount a second significant attack.
It eventually resulted in a try for Mills, who bundled his way over from close range following some concerted pressure up front.
Despite Evans reducing the arrears from the tee, a third Sale score was soon forthcoming as Pearce touched down for a 16-point buffer at the break.
Cardiff's inexperience was beginning to tell and their defence was opened up at the start of the second period when Byron McGuigan broke down the left. Although the attack was halted, the pressure exerted by the English outfit ended in a second try for their number eight.
Matters worsened for the visitors when Seb Davies and Morgan Sienawski were sin-binned within 30 seconds of each other for a dangerous tackle and a deliberate knock-on respectively.
Down to 13 men, the Blues conceded once again via Briggs after a dominant drive saw the hooker cross the whitewash.
Cardiff stemmed the flow briefly but Flynn and a penalty try rounded off a convincing win for the Sharks.