Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond says his side delivered a professional performance in Pau – but that there’s still more work to do ahead of next week’s crucial clash with Newport Gwent Dragons.
Sale barely needed a minute on the clock before Andrei Ostrikov surged over to start a fine European Rugby Challenge Cup night in France for Sale.
Wingers Nev Edwards and Will Addison followed in the first half, while Danny Cipriani added a penalty to take the lead to 22-3 at half-time.
But Pau dug in after the interval and it was not until the 79th minute that their resistance was finally broken down as Johnny Leota crossed for the bonus-point try.
It sets up a huge game back at the AJ Bell Stadium on Thursday with Pool 2 leaders Newport Gwent Dragons – ahead by two points – heading to the North West.
And Sale will be aiming to set the record straight after their opening Challenge Cup defeat to the Dragons at Rodney Parade.
"It was a really good first half, with three really well taken tries, and in the second half, Pau came out with a different mentality, but we stuck to it,” said Diamond.
"We had more territory and possession than them throughout the game. I thought our starting half backs of Danny Cipriani and Chris Cusiter did a great job, and then Joe Ford and James Mitchell came on and did well seeing the game out. It was a really good performance, especially away from home.
"We talked about being patient at half-time, we just had to keep the pressure on and eventually we'll get the just rewards and we did and I'm really pleased.
"It will be a big game next week at the AJ Bell Stadium against the Dragons, where we'll be aiming to get that victory to take us to a home quarter-final."
Pau 3 Sale Sharks 27
Tries: Ostrikov, Edwards, Addison, Leota
Conversions: Cipriani 2