Despite a valiant effort against a team with a budget over four times what the home side can muster, Sale Sharks' unbeaten record in all competitions at the AJ Bell Stadium this season came to a disappointing conclusion on Friday night having been well beaten, 25-19, by a Montpellier side that now look the favourites to win this year's European Challenge Cup.
Tries from Tom Brady and Sam James, along with nine points from Danny Cipriani, were not enough to overcome Jake White's super side who clinically capitalised on their breakdown superiority and heavier pack with five second half penalties from Benoit Paillaugue to end Sale's dreams of European glory.
The positive for Sale - aside from the pride they can take from running the 2nd best side in France closer than the scoreline indicated - is that they avoid having to travel down to Bath on Wednesday night with that match now taking place on the 23rd April as they look to reload and mount a final assault on the Premiership top-six.
Whilst the Sharks can take a lot of pride from their performance on Friday night against a team of South African / French galácticos, the end of a truly remarkable home record was always going to cause disappointment. Still, with four fixtures left in the season, not only is Champions Cup qualification through a top-six finish attainable, so is ending the season as the only Premiership side unbeaten at home in the league. History, is still within the club's reach.
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