AJ MacGinty bags 32 points as Sale set up quarter-final trip to La Rochelle

Controversy as Bristol defeated by Bordeaux-Begles as Racing 92 hammer Edinburgh

Sale Sharks’ AJ MacGinty scores his side’s third try during the Heineken Champions Cup match against Llanelli  at Parc y Scarlets. Photograph:  Bradley Collyer/PA Wire

Sale Sharks’ AJ MacGinty scores his side’s third try during the Heineken Champions Cup match against Llanelli at Parc y Scarlets. Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire

 

Sale Sharks booked a Champions Cup quarter-final trip to Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle after crushing the Scarlets 57-14 in Llanelli.

Sale’s first European Cup last-eight appearance for 15 years was never in doubt after they produced a dominant display built on immense forward power.

The Scarlets had no answer as hooker Akker van der Merwe scored two first-half tries, while flyhalf AJ MacGinty kicked two conversions and three penalties to open up a 23-0 interval lead.

Dubliner MacGinty finished with 32 points, breaking Charlie Hodgson’s individual Sale record for a European Cup game set in 2006.

His haul included a try while wing Marland Yarde, lock Josh Beaumont and substitute scrumhalf Raphael Quirke also touched down, and MacGinty’s immaculate performance featured 11 successful kicks out of 11.

Wales hooker Ken Owens and flanker Jac Morgan scored tries for the Scarlets that fullback Leigh Halfpenny converted, but the Welsh side were outclassed and outmuscled as Sale cut loose and condemned their opponents to a record European Cup home defeat.

Pat Lam’s Bristol have ruled the roost in the English Premiership this season but their European ventures are over after a 36-17 defeat to Bordeaux-Begles.

In the sunshine of the impressive Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux became the fifth French club to reach the quarter-finals , thanks mainly to 24 points from the France flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert.

After a controversial afternoon Bordeaux will meet Racing 92 who gave a masterclass in attacking rugby against Edinburgh in Paris earlier on Sunday afternoon. Bordeaux strangled the life out of this match but will need to be sharper than this to worry Teddy Thomas and his pals.

Bordeaux’s first two tries came after decisions by the video referee, the second particularly contentious, and an interception by replacement Nans Ducuing in the final seconds put a gloss on the scoreline.

That second try as Bristol clawed themselves back into the game appeared to come after a deliberate knock-on by Bordeaux’s Australian number eight Scott Higginbotham.

Lam said: “We saw that try and the players knew 100 per cent that it was a knock-on. But we have to roll with these decisions. I think we started well but ultimately our discipline let us down. There is a big sense of frustration because we gifted them a lot of points and because we knew we were good enough to win.”

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