Another week, another performance devoid of any attacking structure.
Sale's European Champions Cup got off to a miserable start at the Parc y Scarlets on Saturday night as the Sharks fell 28-11 to Pro 12 side Scarlets. A DTH van der Merwe brace alongside a Gareth Davies charge-down effort was enough to sink the away side whose only response came in the form of a well-taken Neil Briggs try rolling off the back of a driving maul.
Despite an ambitious starting lineup that suggested Steve Diamond, unlike in past seasons, intended to take the competition seriously, Scarlets made worryingly short work of Sale's strongest available side in a humbling performance that once again illuminated the structural problems the 2016-17 iteration of Sale Sharks have.
The pack, improved in contrast to recent performances, were still a ways away from the dominant unit promised in pre-season, whilst the backline, with Dan Mugford back in the number 10 role pulling the strings, was completely suffocated by Scarlets' aggressive line defence. Some bizarre one-sided refereeing from Romain Poite which saw the Frenchmen extremely quick to yellow-card both Ross Harrison and Andrei Ostrikov but promote clemency with Scarlets' infringements in their own 22 didn't help matters either.
All in all it was a discouraging night in South Wales for Sale and as alluded to by my succinct synopsis of the game - the less said about it the better.
But now the question on everyone's mind - where do Sale go from here in regards to Europe?
Whether the main culprit is attributed to injuries or the high player turnover over the summer, Sale's start to the 2016-17 season has been mixed to say the least. In the Premiership Sale sit 7th on 13 points with two wins, a draw and a loss to their name - albeit only four points ahead of 11th placed Worcester.
The Premiership as always will be Sale's primary focus - sneaking into the top-four play-offs is a far more attainable goal than an unprecedented run to European glory after all.
But with Sale's small pool of first-team players already stretched by early-season injuries to AJ MacGinty, Rob Webber, Mike Haley, Tom Arscott and others (with Brian Mujati and Cameron Neild the latest casualties from Saturday night) just how much effort can Sale afford to expand in the Champions Cup?
The crux is of course the pseudo-insurmountable nature of the pool Sale find themselves in (which the loss to Scarlets has further compounded). Alongside Scarlets, Sale are included with Toulon (the Galácticos of modern rugby) and Saracens (the reigning European and Premiership champions).
Progression out of Pool 3 was always going to be nigh-on impossible when paired with arguably the two best teams in European rugby, but now, with the Scarlets loss and the enduring mini-injury crisis is it already time for Sale to throw in the towel and give Tom and Ben Curry, George Nott, James Mitchell, Sam Bedlow and the plethora of other talented youngsters coming through the ranks invaluable first-team experience (whilst acknowledging this will likely come off the back of heavy losses both home and away)?
There is no right answer. Whilst the pragmatic decision would be to recognise the futility of attempting to compete in Europe (at least until significant further investment is made into the squad) especially if a full-strength Sale side suffer a loss to Toulon at home on Friday night, this would have drastic implications for Sale's reputation (and would undermine the efforts the team expanded at the end of last season to finish in the top-six).
The one certainty is that Saturday's loss - and indeed the nature of it - has only made Sale's approach to their remaining European fixtures a lot more ambiguous.
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