Blues (27) 32
Gareth Thomas scored two tries for the Blues against Sale Sharks
Tries: Spice, Thomas (2), Rush, James
Cons: Robinson (2)
Pens: Robinson (1)
Sale (3) 15
Try: Thomas, Lamont
Cons: Thomas (1)
Pens: Thomas (1)
Two tries from Gareth Thomas on his full debut inspired Cardiff Blues to a 32-15 victory over Sale Sharks.
The Blues scored five tries on the way to victory to get their EDF Energy Cup campaign off to a fine start.
First-half tries from Jason Spice, Thomas (2) and captain Xavier Rush secured a bonus point, with Tom James crossing late-on.
Sale did fight back with second-half tries from Lee Thomas and Rory Lamont but it was too little, too late.
The visitors, missing World Cup stars Mark Cueto, Andrew Sheridan and Sebastien Chabal, looked out of sorts from the very first whistle.
Cardiff Blues made a scintillating start with Spice scoring their opening try of the evening within four minutes.
The scrum-half went over in the corner, finishing off Deiniol Jones' powerful break down the wing.
They could have been further ahead a few minutes later, but Charlie Hodgson reacted well to get to James' chip ahead of the chasing Cardiff Blues attackers.
But despite the intense early pressure, the visitors got themselves on the score-sheet with Lee Thomas sending over a penalty for 5-3.
Those were the last points Sale scored for the rest of the half as the Blues ran riot for the remaining 25 minutes.
Outside-half Nicky Robinson edged them further ahead with a penalty before Wales' record try scorer Gareth Thomas took centre stage.
Thomas scored two tries and was influential in setting up another with the Blues going into half-time 27-3 up.
First he cut through feeble Sale defence to open his account with the Blues in only his second appearance for the Welsh region.
And his second try was more impressive, with Thomas finishing off a stunning counter-attack which started with captain Rush and ended with 'Alfie' diving over in the corner.
The Blues secured a valuable bonus point within 30 minutes, with Rush getting his name on the scoresheet.
New Zealander Rush crossed courtesy of a fine break from his side with Gareth Thomas selling the Sale defence a wonderful dummy just outside his own 22, before releasing full-back Ben Blair.
Blair was tackled just a few feet short of his own line, but managed to off-load to Rush who touched down the Blues' fourth try.
Robinson sent over the conversion, his second of the half to compound Sale's misery.
With the game won, the second half lacked the intensity of the first and it was Sale who were next to score.
Former Blues centre Lee Thomas scored it, diving over from close range following Julien Laharrague's fine break.
Thomas sent over the conversion to reduce the deficit further.
But it was the Blues who had the last say, with James catching a cross-kick to score in injury time to cement victory for his side.
Blues coach Dai Young:
"We played well in the first-half but just fell away a bit in the second.
"It was a physical game and there are a lot of players in the dressing room with bumps and bruises.
"But it is lovely to get a win and is a good start for us.
"We played with a lot of flair and showed we have the players to finish it off."
Sale coach Kingsley Jones:
"I wasn't surprised with what I saw tonight and was very impressed with Cardiff Blues.
"Our defence struggled against a very powerful centre combination in Tom Shanklin and Gareth Thomas.
"Their two young wingers looked dangerous also and they scored some spectacular tries.
"We will have to be better than that."
Cardiff Blues: Blair, James, Shanklin, G. Thomas, J. Roberts, N. Robinson, Spice, Jenkins, R. Thomas, G. Powell, Jones, Tito, Molitika, Sowden-Taylor, Rush.
Replacements: Macleod for Shanklin (51), Rees for Spice (53), Yapp for Jenkins (63), G. Williams for R. Thomas (70), White for Jones (70), Sidoli for Tito (63).
Not Used: R. Williams.
Sale: Laharrague, Lamont, Keil, Thomas, Ripol, Hodgson, Martens, Faure, Bruno, Bourrust, Schofield, Cox, C. Jones, Lund, Bonner-Evans.
Replacements: Mayor for Keil (41), Hanley for Ripol (75), Wigglesworth for Martens (51), Evans for Bourrust (51), Hills for Schofield (58), Day for C. Jones (35), Briggs for Lund (60).
Ref: David Pearson (RFU).