Sale stay buoyant as Ripol turns tide

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The Independent Online

The Spanish wing Oriol Ripol led the way with two tries as Sale kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with a 29-11 victory over Calvisano in Italy.

Chris Mayor and Ben Foden also touched down and Richard Wigglesworth landed three conversions and a penalty as the Sharks pulled level on points with Pool Three leaders Stade Français, who take on the Ospreys in Swansea this afternoon.

The only setback for Sale was a leg injury to No 8 Nathan Bonner-Evans which makes him doubtful for next Saturday's home meeting with the Ospreys.

The Ospreys will go top if they repeat last season's victory at the Liberty Stadium over today's opponents. Their wings Shane Williams and Nikki Walker face late fitness tests, but Sonny Parker (knee) and Jonathan Thomas (shoulder) are sidelined. Two of Stade's internationals - Sylvain Marconnet and Brian Liebenberg - are also battling to be fit.

In the match between the Pool One also-rans, Castres cantered to a 40-21 success at Treviso with Jean-Baptiste Peyras-Loustalet running in three of their six tries.

Northampton, on course for a quarter-final spot from Pool Six, have scrum-half Mark Robinson restored to full fitness for today's visit to Borders. Holders and Pool Four leaders Munster welcome back No 8 Denis Leamy following a stomach bug against Bourgoin in Geneva - the 80th different stadium to host a Heineken Cup match.

In the European Challenge Cup, a 47-17 win in Parma, featuring try doubles for Rory Lamond and Sam Pinder, enabled Glasgow to pull level with Pool Two leaders Saracens, who entertain Narbonne at Vicarage Road today. But the Premiership's bottom club Worcester bowed out after going down 35-22 at home to Pool Five winners Clermont-Auvergne.

Earth Titans saw off Waterloo 29-14 to go top of National League One by a single point from Leeds, who face Nottingham today, and Doncaster, who drew 20-20 at home to London Welsh.