Sale exit despite crushing win
Sale Sharks cruised to a 54-0 victory over 14-man Petrarca but it was not enough to keep them in the race for the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
The Sharks impressed as they ran in eight tries at Edgeley Park to secure a comfortable bonus-point over the Italian minnows in Pool Two.
However, Brive's victory against Cetransa El Salvador meant the Sharks will miss out on the last eight of Europe's second tier competition for the first time since 2001.
Fly-half Rob Miller ran the show for Sale, scored 17 points including six conversions and a try, as well as playing a hand in four more.
Chris Brightwell put Sale on track for an emphatic win with the opening try on 11 minutes. They survived a scare when Petrarca were held up over the line moments later but it was plain sailing from then on.
Neil McMillan, Miller and Nick Macleod all crossed to wrap up a bonus point before half-time.
Prop Henry Thomas resumed the scoring after the break on 44 minutes before Will Cliff, Mathew Tait and John Kennedy all crossed to complete the rout, which ended with the hosts facing 14 men following a second yellow card for hooker Agustin Costa Repetto.
Newcastle Falcons are still waiting for their first win of 2011 after crashing out of the competition.
The Falcons were defeated 6-0 by Montpellier at Kingston Park, their third defeat of the campaign in Pool Three.
Falcons coach Alan Tait fielded a second-string side though the squad players pushed the high-flying French outfit, who are third in the Top 14, in a closely-fought contest. Two penalties in the first half by Benoit Paillaugue were all that separated the teams.