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Gallagher Premiership Rugby European wrap: Sale Sharks bite back as Wasps stung in Dublin

Gallagher Premiership Rugby European wrap: Sale Sharks bite back as Wasps stung in Dublin

The European rugby season got underway with a bang on Friday evening as Sale Sharks and Wasps represented Gallagher Premiership Rugby on the continent.

Wasps faced a daunting trip to four-time and reigning champions Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup, while Sale Sharks jetted off to the south of France for a clash with Perpignan in the second-tier Challenge Cup.

Neither encounter was short of tries – in fact there were 16 scored across the two matches – but the results were contrasting for the English sides.

Perpignan 24-41 Sale Sharks

Sale Sharks beat Newcastle Falcons a week ago to ensure they wouldn’t be at the foot of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby table heading into the European break and on Friday night they secured an arguably even more impressive win over Perpignan.

Byron McGuigan ran in an eye-catching hat-trick but it was the returning Faf de Klerk, back from Springboks duty, who pulled the strings from scrum-half.

The South African tormented the French side and produced a sumptuous chip over the top for Luke James’ try, while Rob Webber and Rohan Janse van Rensburg were Sale’s other try scorers in the big win.

The Sharks’ task was made easier, in a hostile atmosphere at the Stade Aime Giral, when Perpignan hooker Manu Leiataua was shown a straight red card on 20 minutes after leading with an arm to the neck of Webber in the act of tackling.

But they made the most of their man advantage in style to open up with a bonus-point triumph ahead of a fascinating clash with Connacht at the AJ Bell next week.

Leinster 52-3 Wasps

Reigning champions Leinster picked up exactly where they left off in last season’s Heineken Champions Cup as Wasps fell to a heavy defeat at the RDS Arena.

Dai Young’s troops stayed in touch with their hosts for the majority of the first 40 minutes but Luke McGrath’s try on the stroke of half-time after Lima Sopoaga had been sin-binned increased the advantage to 14-3 and set Leinster up to pull away after the break.

James Lowe (2), McGrath with his second score, Jordan Larmour, Robbie Henshaw and Jack McGrath all crossed to bring up 50 points and Wasps will now look to bounce back against Gallagher Premiership Rugby rivals Bath Rugby at the Ricoh Arena next Saturday.

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