A relentless performance from Sale Sharks condemned London Irish to defeat in their first home game of the Gallagher Premiership season as they were thrashed 7-41.
Sale put six tries past the Irish back-line in a controlling display which earned them a bonus point victory.
On a manic day of rugby which saw England reach the World Cup Final with a dominant display over New Zealand, London Irish couldn’t match their performance as they were outclassed by an overpowering Sale performance.
Irish had the early possession as they kicked deep into the Sale 22, but the early pressure was relieved as the visitors were awarded a penalty.
The Exiles were let down by poor discipline, conceding three early penalties as Rob du Preez kicked deep into the corner.
Having won another penalty and kicked to the corner for a line-out, Sale overpowered Irish with a maul to get over the line as Akker van der Merwe got over the line. After a review from the TMO the try was awarded. du Preez then added the extras to make it 7-0 to the away side.
Sale continued to control the match with a dominant display from their forwards as Saia Fainga’a was replaced by Ross McMillan and Allan Dell came on in place of Danny Hobs-Awoyemi on the half hour mark.
The Manchester side then extended their advantage as du Preez successfully scored a drop goal from a central position to make it 10-0.
After Paddy Jackson’s kick was well charged down and blocked, it looked as if Sale may score another try but Ben Loader tracked back well to retain the ball.
But Sale then found a second try with a brilliantly worked move. Dan du Preez chipped the ball out to the wing to find Denny Solomona who kicked the ball towards the line and won the chase to the line as he touched over in the corner.
Despite du Preez missing the conversion, Sale were in full control with a 15-0 lead.
The visitors piled more misery on Irish before half-time as they worked a swift passing move out to the right wing where Marland Yarde raced over the whitewash. Du Preez missed his second consecutive kick as Sale went into the half-time break with a big 20-0 lead.
Irish had to stay resilient in defence to keep Sale out as they pressed towards the line, but the Exiles held firm and turned over possession.
But it was the visitors who found the next score with a fourth try of the day to earn a bonus point. Josh Beaumont broke away from the Irish defence and superbly dummied a pass to Yarde to trick his way to the line. Du Preez successfully found the posts to give Sale a 27 point lead.
Sale continued their outstanding performance to score a fifth try of the match as Rob du Preez exploited a gap in the defence to burst through the middle and touch down between the posts. The conversion was added to make it 34-0 to Sale.
The hosts finally got on the scoreboard in the 64th minute as Ruan Botha charged down a kick and sprinted to the line to score Irish’s first points of the match. Stephen Myler added the kick to make it Irish 7-34 Sale.
A remarkable Sale performance would be capped off with a sixth try as Rohan Janse Van Rensburg got away from the Irish defence to add to the thrashing. The kick was converted to complete the scoring as Sale wrapped up a 41-7 win at the Madejski Stadium.
Irish will look to get back to winning ways after their opening day win away to Wasps when they travel to face Saracens next Saturday.
London Irish: 15 Parton, 14 Loader, 13 Rona, 12 Hepetema, 11 Hassel-Collins, 10 Jackson, 9 Steele, 1 Hobbs-Awoyemi, 2 Fainga’a, 3 Hoskins, 4 Nott, 5 Botha, 6 Rogerson, 7 Cowan (c), 8 Tuisue.
Replacements: 16 McMillan, 17 Dell, 18 Chawatama, 19 van der Merwe, 20 Gilsenan, 21 Meehan, 22 Myler, 23 Williams.
Sale Sharks: 15 Hammersley, 14 Solomona, 13 James, 12 Van Rensburg, 11 McGuigan, 10 du Preez, 9 Cliff, 1 Harrison, 2 van der Merwe, 3 Oosthuizen, 4 Beaumont, 5 Evans, 6 Du Preez, 8 du Preez.