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Sale 49-24 Brive

Sale (21) 49
Tries: Chabal, Thomas, Fernandez Lobbe (2), Cliff, penalty Pens: McAlister (3)Cons: McAlister (5)

Brive (12) 24
Tries: Sid, Liebenberg (2), Bonrepaux Cons: Petitjean (2)

Luke McAlister of Sale Sharks
McAlister was inspired for Sale

Sale remain on course for a third European Challenge Cup after easing past Brive to reach the semi-finals.

Sebastien Chabal's try and Lee Thomas's touchdown from Luke McAlister's kick put Sale 18-0 up in as many minutes.

Farid Sid and Vickus Liebenberg's tries gave Brive hope before a Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe pair restored the lead.

Jean-Phillipe Bonrepaux barged over for Brive but a Will Cliff try and a penalty try killed them off, although Liebenberg bagged a late second.

McAlister already had his first penalty on the scoreboard before Chabal showed good footballing skills to control the ball with his feet and touch down for an easy opening try, a move set up by Sebastien Bruno.

The Kiwi converted it and added another penalty before setting up Thomas with an inch-perfect kick into the right-hand corner for the centre to slide over.

With a comfortable lead early on, it was perhaps inevitable that Sale's concentration would slip, and they were made to pay when Sid peeled off a maul to touch down behind the posts.

On the stroke of half-time, Sid turned provider for Liebenberg, who brushed off McAlister's challenge to score in the right-hand corner.

Sale began the second half aggressively, with Fernandez Lobbe going over from close range, and he added another just after Charl van Rensburg was sin-binned.

Despite being a man down, Bonrepaux barged over from close range before Cliff's try rounded off a sustained period of Sale pressure, and a collapsed scrum gave the Sharks a penalty try.

Liebenberg ensured Brive had the final say on the scoreboard but Sale were comfortable winners.

Sale director of rugby Philippe Saint Andre on Luke McAlister:

"It was good to see him at fly-half - he showed a lot of class and is starting to gel more and more in the team.

"We're in the semi-finals of the competition and are still in contention in the Guinness Premiership.

"It will be a big race in the Premiership but we're only a few points off the top and that's much better than at this stage last season."

Sale: Foden, Cueto, Bell, Thomas, Ripol, McAlister, Wigglesworth; Sheridan, Bruno, Roberts, Schofield, Cox, White (capt), Lund, Chabal.
Replacements: Lawson, Sigley, Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Cliff, Hodgson, Laharrague.

Brive: Palisson, Sid, Estebanez, Cooke, Bolavucu, Petitjean, Mahe, Harbut, Bonrepaux, Bordoy, Van Zyl (capt), Liebenberg, Van Rensburg, Bonvoisin, Azoulai

Referee: Tim Hayes (Wal)

see also
Falcons secure home quarter-final
20 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup round-up
12 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union

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