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Sale break duck in European Challenge Cup

Sale earned their first win in the European Challenge Cup as they edged past Pau 29-20 in Pool 2.

The Sharks started well with a converted try from Brian Mujati but the French newcomers responded through a Thibault Daubagna penalty and a Quentin Lespiaucq-Brettes try, which was converted.

The game swung again before half-time as Mark Jennings went over and Joe Ford kicked the extra points.

Ford added a penalty just after the break and Lespiaucq-Brettes and Sam James exchanged tries before Vili Fihaki's score in the closing stages secured a bonus point for Sale.

Worcester's qualifying hopes suffered a blow with a 27-8 defeat to Zebre.

The Warriors arrived in Italy level on points with their hosts in Pool 4 but made a bad start in the rain in Parma.

Tries from Marcello Violi and Tommaso Boni, together with a conversion, a penalty and a drop goal from the impressive Carlo Canna, saw Zebre surge into a 18-0 lead.

Ryan Lamb got Worcester on the board with a penalty midway through the first half but Canna kicked three more penalties before Dean Hammond went over for a consolation try.

It was also defeat for Newport Gwent Dragons as they lost narrowly 32-29 to Castres Olympique, although they did return from France with a bonus point.

Carl Meyer and Elliott Dee went over for tries and Dorian Jones' boot ensured the Dragons did not leave the Stade Pierre Antoine with nothing to show for their efforts.

Connacht maintained their 100 per cent record with a 21-17 home victory over Brive.

The first try went to the visitors as Thomas Acquier mauled over but a Rory Parata try and two Jack Carty penalties gave the Irish side an 11-5 lead at the break.

There was a flurry of scores early in the second half as Ben Marshall and Benito Masilevu traded touchdowns, then Kieran Marmion crossed the line for Connacht's third try.

Brive battled back through Sevanaia Galala's try, which was was converted by Teddy Iribaren, but Connacht held on for their second win of the competition to top Pool 1.

London Irish fought back bravely before losing 27-20 to Grenoble.

Tries by Arnaud Heguy and Fabien Alexandre, both converted by Gilles Bosch, put the hosts in control but Irish responded with a converted Johnny Williams try.

A Bosch penalty made it 17-7 but Jebb Sinclair sprinted clear to touch down on the stroke of half-time and a conversion from Theo Brophy-Clews reduced the deficit to just three points.

Two Brophy-Clews penalties put Irish ahead but Bosch replied to level up the score before a last-minute twist as Clement Gelin raced clear and went over the line. Christophe Loustalot added the conversion.


From Belfast Telegraph