Ben Foden proved an inspired deputy for the injured England wing Mark Cueto with a clinical hat-trick as Sale kick-started their Heineken Cup campaign with a bonus-point victory against Italian minnows Calvisano at Edgeley Park last night.
By the time Foden had scored his third try to make it 32-11, five more tries were posted to make it 67-11 with 22 points for Charlie Hodgson. Sale can now look forward with renewed confidence to their next match against Stade Français in Paris on 10 December.
Believing Calvisano to be the weakest opposition in Pool 3, Sale made 10 changes to the side which lost so spectacularly to the Ospreys by a point in Wales last Friday.
Although choosing most of their better men, it was a big ask to beat Sale who had seven players on the replacements bench, all of them first-team regulars. Even so, the Italians included seven internationals in their line-up, plus three on the bench.
The Italians started well, but the penalty they could have kicked went to touch for a lineout. When Charlie Hodgson was offered the chance, he drilled it over from 45 metres after four minutes. Given a similar opportunity from 30 metres Andrea Scanavacca pushed his shot wide.
Sale, however, were gradually finding their feet. Hodgson's next penalty was from even closer range. At 18 minutes, from a lineout, Dean Schofield grabbed it and the ball was driven 30 metres through the posts. Hodgson converted.
The Sale forwards had hardly broken sweat but in providing a wide ball for Foden, the winger needed no second opportunity for his try. Calvisano grabbed the try for Roland de Marigny to make the score 25-5 - he added a penalty - and the score stayed that way until the break.
Whenever Calvisano had the ball the laws seemed to be broken and referee Romain Poite penalised them heavily. Foden's third try earned Sale a bonus point. Replacement Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Chris Bell, Sebastién Chabal, Jason Robinson and Chris Mayor got the remaining tries, all of which were converted by Hodgson.
Sale: Tries Schofield, Foden 3, Fernandez Lobbe, Bell, Chabal, Robinson, Mayor; Cons Hodgson 8; Pens Hodgson 2; Calvisano: Tries De Marigny;Pens De Marigny 2.
Sale: Larrechea (Robinson, 58); Foden, Mayor, Bell, Hanley; Hodgson, Wigglesworth; Sheridan (Roberts, 69), Gaona (Titterall, 47), Stewart (Turner, 72), Schofield (Fernandez Lobbe, h-t), Day (Jones, 63), White (capt), Lund, Chabal.
Calvisano: De Marigny; Gallinetti, Downey, Zanoletti, Spragg; Scanavacca (Pastormerlo, 37), Griffen (capt); Bocca, Intoppa, Cittadini (Zaffri, h-t), Purll, Gissing, Ngauamo (Bernabo, 53), Persico (Patelli, 53), Zanni (Dal Maso, 56).
Referee: R Poite (France).Reuse content