Brive’s international winger Alexis Palisson scored twice to prevent Sale getting a precious away win in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Freezing French temperatures had a big impact on the play of both teams, and with steady streams of possession increasingly hard to come by all the points came in the first half.
Sale skipper Nick Macleod landed three penalties, but some major passing errors gifted Brive both of their tries. The first came when Sharks flanker Neil McMillan had a pass intercepted by Mathieu Belie. Mat Tait stopped the initial attack but Brive kept hold of the ball and Palisson was over.
The winger created and finished his second when he snatched another interception, this time from Kyle Tonetti. And with man of the match Julien Caminati adding a conversion and two penalties Brive had a healthy lead at half-time.
Both sides continued their efforts after the break, but not even a yellow card for Brive flanker Alix Popham could create enough space for Sale to start a comeback. Caminati had a chance to cap his night, but his late penalty went wide and Brive had the win to go four points clear at the top of pool two.