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Mixed bag of results in Challenge Cup

By Harry West
Sale Sharks’ Faf de Klerk in action vs Toulouse

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James O’Connor’s first start for Sale Sharks ended in a 20-20 draw with Toulouse as neither side managed to open their European Challenge Cup campaigns with a win.

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The Australian lined up at fly-half for the home side at AJ Bell Stadium, but could not quite inspire his team to victory in the Pool 2 meeting.

Toulouse were first on the board through Semi Kunatani, and the lead stood at 14-3 when Sebastien Bezy went over under the posts before converting his own score.

Sale pulled themselves back into contention just before half-time thanks to Denny Solomona’s try and they were ahead for the first time as Bryn Evans charged down a kick and touched down 10 minutes into the second period.

Bezy then levelled matters at 17-17 from the tee, before he and Faf de Klerk traded further penalties in the final 15 minutes as both sides were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

 

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The early leaders in Pool 2 are Cardiff Blues, who ran in four tries to secure a bonus-point 29-19 victory at home to Lyon, while there were one-sided triumphs for Bordeaux-Begles and Agen.

Bordeaux crossed the whitewash on eight occasions in a 57-17 rout of Enisei in Russia, while Agen scored seven times during their 45-10 thrashing of Zebre.

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