Cardiff stunned by Sale, Edinburgh march on despite frozen pitch
Cardiff Blues' impressive start in the European Challenge Cup came to a juddering halt on Saturday as they were thrashed 24-0 by Sale Sharks.
The Pro14 side had won both of their matches in Group 2, but were blunted by Sale at the AJ Bell Stadium, the hosts grateful to the boot of AJ MacGinty.
MacGinty kicked three penalties in the opening 40 minutes and added a fourth just after the restart.
He was again accurate from the tee to convert Will Cliff's 59th-minute try, but missed when Marc Jones crossed in the closing minutes as Sale claimed their first triumph of the group.
Newcastle Falcons are three wins from three in Group 1 after running in eight tries over Bordeaux Begles, Adam Radwan scoring twice in a comprehensive 52-24 win.
Today's man of the match, Will Witty pic.twitter.com/HQaKHplbmH-- Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) December 9, 2017
Group 3 strugglers Zebre were given a glimmer of hope against Gloucester when they went into half-time 19-14 ahead, but the Italians were unable to complete the victory.
Gloucester came roaring back after the break, though, with tries from Ollie Thorley, Owen Williams and Richard Hibbard wrapping up a 33-26 success.
Edinburgh sit eight points clear at the top of Group 4 after thrashing hapless London Irish 50-20 at Murrayfield - the game having been moved from Myreside due to a frozen pitch.
Irish sit bottom of the Premiership after 10 games and this heavy defeat will do their morale no good, Edinburgh earning their bonus point before half-time.
The hosts ran in eight tries across the 80 minutes, Phil Burleigh grabbing himself two as Edinburgh strengthened their quest for a place in the knockout stages.
Like Edinburgh, Connacht have three wins from three in the fifth pool, but they needed a storming second half against Brive to get there.
Tries from Mike Tadjer, Florian Cazenave and Julien Brugnaut plus two Gaetan Germain conversions had given Brive a 19-17 half-time lead, but Connacht were irresistible after the restart.
Jack Carty scored 16 of their 21 second-half points as the Irish province moved three points clear at the halfway stage.
Worcester Warriors are hot on Connacht's heels after their second win of the group, Carl Hogg's side turning on the style in the second 40 to beat Oyonnax 35-14 at Sixways Stadium.