Cardiff stunned by Sale, Edinburgh marches on

Getty Images

Cardiff Blues' impressive start in the European Challenge Cup came to a juddering halt on Sunday (AEDT) as it was thrashed 24-0 by Sale Sharks.

The Pro14 side had won both of its matches in Group 2, but was blunted by Sale at AJ Bell Stadium, the host 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 its first triumph of the group.

Newcastle Falcons is 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.

Group 3 struggler Zebre was given a glimmer of hope against Gloucester when it went into half-time 19-14 ahead, but the Italian side was 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 sits 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 because of a frozen pitch.

Irish sits bottom of the Premiership after 10 games and this heavy defeat will do its morale no good, Edinburgh earning its bonus point before half-time.

The host ran in eight tries across the 80 minutes, Phil Burleigh grabbing himself two as Edinburgh strengthened its quest for a place in the knockout stages.

Like Edinburgh, Connacht has three wins from three in the fifth pool, but it 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 was 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 is hot on Connacht's heels after its 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.