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Sale Sharks travel to the Stade Ernest Wallon on Saturday with hopes of a European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final spot still alive, with Pool 2 bottom side Toulouse standing in their path.
- Cardiff Blues have amassed a six-point lead at the Pool 2 summit, meaning they have safely qualified, but a bonus-point win for Sale Sharks against Toulouse would see them move up to 16 points and made them candidates for one of the three available runners-up spots.
- However, clinching a big win could be difficult for Sale Sharks given there was nothing to separate them and Toulouse when the sides met at the AJ Bell Stadium back in October, playing out a 20-20 stalemate.
- Two converted tries and two penalties apiece met the first ever European meeting between the sides ended with honours even, but with the quarter-finals still in sight, Sale Sharks will be keen to go one step further this time around.
- Toulouse winger Wandile Mjekevu comes into Round 6 having made more offloads than anyone in the Challenge Cup, with 12 to his name, while Sale Sharks full-back Mike Haley has made 444 metres so far in the competition, ranking him second.
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Toulouse’s bonus-point victory over Sale Sharks at Stade Ernest Wallon was ultimately not enough to earn them a Challenge Cup quarter-final place.
- Toulouse started the day in third place in Pool 2 and although they dislodged the Aviva Premiership side to finish second, their final total of 14 points was the lowest of the the five pool runners-up.
- The TOP14 side were on top from the first whistle and prop Maks van Dyk crashed over on four minutes with Romain Ntamack converting. He did so again on 22 minutes after David Roumieu had crossed.
- Sale new boy Marland Yarde scored a lovely convered try four minutes before the break to reduce arrears to 14-7 and scores were soon level when Luke James darted through under the posts.
- A deserved third try from a driving maul by Julien Marchand, converted by Ntamack, seized the lead back for Toulouse, but Josh Beaumont's close-range score, and Will Addison's extras, made it 21-21 on the hour mark.
- But right at the death Semi Kunatani won it with a try on the overlap, although it mattered little in the end as both sides went out of the competition.
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