Pierre Bourgarit was sent off for eye-gouging Tom Curry as Sale Sharks beat La Rochelle 25-15 and Montpellier clung on for a European Champions Cup win over Gloucester despite Jacques du Plessis’ dismissal.
Curry was man of the match in his first appearance of the season for Sale on Sunday, three weeks after playing in England’s Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa.
Yet the flanker was fortunate to escape without suffering damage when hooker Bourgarit inexplicably put his hand into the 21-year-old’s eyes during a grapple late in the first half at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Bourgarit’s early exit left La Rochelle down to 13 men, with Remi Leroux in the sin bin and the Sharks leading 10-7 courtesy of an early converted Rohan Janse van Rensburg try and AJ MacGinty’s penalty.
Vincent Rattez touched down at the other end midway through the half and although Brock James levelled from the tee just after the break, La Rochelle’s indiscipline proved to be costly.
Sale were awarded a penalty try as La Rochelle had Dany Priso sin-binned, before Chris Ashton scored his 40th Champions Cup five-pointer. World Cup winner Faf de Klerk made a winning return to Sale duty, with Jeremy Sinzelle’s reply for La Rochelle coming too late to prevent the Sharks from going second in Pool 2.
— Sale Sharks (@SaleSharksRugby) November 24, 2019
Du Plessis was given his marching orders for an elbow on Gerbrandt Grobler in the second half as Montpellier edged out Gloucester 30-27 for their first win of the competition at the GGL Stadium.
Montpellier were 27-17 up when Du Plessis had a rush of blood and the lock would have been a relieved man when Premiership side Gloucester ran out of time to secure a first Pool 5 win.
Jan Serfontein, Caleb Timu and Nemani Nadolo crossed in the first half for the Top 14 outfit, with Matt Banahan and Joe Simpson touching down for the Cherry and Whites in a tense second half after Callum Braley got on the scoresheet four minutes prior to the break.
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