Early points earn Toulon victory at Sale


Toulon got off the mark in the European Champions Cup with an unconvincing 15-5 Pool Three victory over Sale Sharks on Friday.

The three-time European champions raced clear with Sale down to 14 men early on but failed to score a single point with their hosts at full strength.

It was Sale who looked most likely in a scoreless second half, yet Toulon ground out a result that pulls them level on points with the Scarlets and Saracens, who play on Saturday.

Sale, meanwhile, sit bottom of the pool without a point.

Steve Diamond's hosts suffered an early blow when Magnus Lund was yellow-carded for a late tackle and Toulon were quick to make the most of their numerical advantage.

Leigh Halfpenny got the visitors off the mark from the tee before Charles Ollivon spotted a gap in the Sale defence to cross for the opening try of the match.

Halfpenny himself touched down after Byron McGuigan spilled a crossfield kick, and Lund returned to the field with the home side 15-0 down.

Sale were more competitive with a full complement of players and pulled a try back through Paolo Odogwu after Toulon skipper Duane Vermeulen was sin-binned for a trip on Sam James.

Will Addison missed a relatively straightforward penalty after 55 minutes, hitting the right-hand upright to squander an opportunity to pull within a converted try of Toulon.

And it was all Sale as the half progressed - the home side put an ill-disciplined French defence under sustained pressure with no reward.