Bok duo help Sale win in Europe

Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Jean-Luc du Preez dotted down as Sale Sharks held on to open their Champions Cup campaign with a win in the first round.

Sale Sharks scored all their points in the first 25 minutes and then survived an Ospreys fightback and their own indiscipline to win 21-12 in Swansea.

Centre Janse Van Rensburg, hooker Ewan Ashman and lock Du Preez all touched down as Sale took their early chances.

Sale conceded 18 penalties and had two players, Lood De Jager and Ben Curry, yellow-carded.

“We came away with a win down in south Wales on a wet day in a big competition,” said Sale rugby director Alex Sanderson.

“That penalty count goes against the trend of winning rugby games, really.”

Connacht gained a 36-9 bonus-point win over Stade Francais in Galway.

The home team played into the wind in the first half but took a 19-6 lead and dominated the second half, finishing with six tries.

Stade, playing their first Champions Cup game since 2016, managed only three Nicolas Sanchez penalties.

Lock JJ van der Mescht and scrumhalf James Hall played for Stade, while Connacht had Shayne Bolton at outside centre.

La Rochelle, last season’s losing finalists, eased past Glasgow 20-13 this past Sunday.

In the late game, English champions Harlequins became the first away team to win at Castres in Europe since 2015 when they won 20-18.

Fullback Tyrone Green, Bok centre Andre Esterhuizen and lock Stephan Lewies started for Harlequins. Castres fielded Rory Kockott at scrumhalf.

La Rochelle had reported two positives in the run-up to the match while coronavirus had a much more dramatic impact on the encounter between Wasps and Munster.

Wasps, without 17 injured players, lost four more to positive Covid-19 tests on Sunday morning. Munster have 34 personnel in quarantine following an ill-fated United Rugby Championship trip to South Africa, but still won 35-14.

Damian de Allende started at inside centre for Munster.

Two Welsh teams quarantining after returning from South Africa had not been able to overcome their problems.

Scarlets opted to concede their match to Bristol while a youthful Cardiff team lost 39-7 at home to champions Toulouse on Saturday.

Castres made 13 changes from their last Top 14 game and paid the price.

The French club had not lost at home in any competition for almost a year and had gone seven European games unbeaten since their last defeat, also by Harlequins, but the visitors held off a desperate late assault.

Castres wing Josaia Raisuqe and Quins wing Louis Lynagh scored first-half tries.

A try from No. 8 Alex Dombrandt and the conversion and a penalty from Marcus Smith put Quins nine points up, but Martin Laveau burst through to set up a frantic final five minutes.

In La Rochelle, Glasgow were undone by the 10 points they conceded after Rory Darge was sent to the sin bin in the 55th minute.

Kyle Steyn had just put the visitors 11-10 up but Eneriko Buliruarua then scored against 14 men.

Ihaia West converted and took his total for the game to 10 points when he ended the scoring with a penalty.

After the game, La Rochelle coach Ronan O’Gara said that wing Arthur Retiere, who has one France cap, had suffered a broken ankle and would be out for “several months”.

© Agence France-Presse

Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images for Sale Sharks

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Dylan Jack