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Sharks send Scarlets packing after crushing defeat

SCARLETS’ involvement in the Heineken Champions Cup came to a crushing end on Sunday (Apr 4) as they were thumped 57-14 by Sale Sharks.

The Sharks crossed for six tries in their victory against a Scarlets side who welcomed back a number of their Welsh international players including Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams and Ken Owens.

The visitors delivered a dominant performance to book their place in the quarter-finals, where they will face La Rochelle.

The Scarlets were second best throughout a one-sided contest, making too many errors against a pumped up Sale side, who bossed the physical battle and contact area.

The Sharks were on their front foot early, with fly-half AJ McGinty landing a second-minute penalty after Scarlets were penalised at the scrum.

Hooker Akker van der Merwe pounced on a line-out error for the game’s first try and Sale continued to build their lead when McGinty added another penalty from 40 metres out.

It needed a superb try-saving tackle from Liam Williams to deny Sale a second, but the visitors were celebrating again on the half-hour mark when man of the match van der Merwe touched down following a line-out drive.

Wales international centre Johnny Williams was forced off the field with a shoulder injury on 34 minutes then McGinty added another three points after Scarets were penalised at the scrum.

Scarlets had a chance to get on the scoresheet just before the interval, but skipper Ken Owens was held up over the line from a line-out drive.

Needing a strong start to the second half, the Scarlets gifted Sale their third try as McGinty hacked through a loose pass to touch down at the posts with the conversion taking the score out 30-0.

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Scarlets did get over for a try when Owens touched down following a short-range line-out rumble, but back came Sale, who worked wing Marlon Yarde clear on the left for try number four.

Scarlets brought on a number of replacements to try and change the momentum, but Sale were in relentless mood, particularly with their aggression and hunger in defence.

More pressure led to second row Beaumont being put over for Sale’s sixth try and McGinty twisted the knife with two further penalties.

Jac Morgan showed good strength to force his way over five minutes from time for a consolation score, but it was the visitors who had the final word through replacement scrum-half Raphael Quirke.