Sale 49 Ospreys 10
Bevan Rodd can bask in the glow of a stunning try-assist when he joins up with the England squad for their five-day training camp in Brighton on Monday.
The Sale loosehead prop will hope to add to his two caps when Eddie Jones’s side travel to Murrayfield to face Scotland in their Six Nations opener on Feb 5.
Scotland-born Rodd, 21, underlined his class here with an exhilarating piece of skill in the 28th minute of this thumping win against a youthful, understrength Ospreys side as Sale booked a last-16 Champions Cup date with Bristol.
Collecting a neat offload from Ben Curry, Rodd showed impressive speed and strength to gallop over the halfway line and fine skill to find winger Arron Reed with an exquisite long pass on the left flank.
Reed outstripped the Ospreys defence to finish off in style while Rodd celebrated with a double fist-clenched salute.
“Bevan’s got it all, hasn’t he? It’s that kind of play which sets him apart from the other looseheads,” said Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson. “To see him make the break and thread the pass through to Arron was outstanding.”
The two other Sale players in Jones’s 36-man Six Nations squad –scrum-half Raffi Quirke and openside flanker Tom Curry – also made notable contributions, the latter off the bench after replacing captain Jono Ross in the 50th minute.
Significantly, Sanderson suggested that Curry, a player considered indispensable to Jones, could play in Sale’s Premiership home clash against leaders Leicester on Sunday – just six days before England’s Six Nations opener at Murrayfield. Sanderson said: “Tom enjoyed himself today but he’s got a bit more of a shift to put in next week. There is a chance he might be staying back to get some more game time.
“That’s between him and Eddie, but I don’t want to give anything away to Leicester. He hasn’t played a lot in the last couple of weeks. If it does happen, that will be the reason.”
After a first half of the season where progress has been slow in the Premiership for Sale, Sanderson can now look forward to a place in the last 16 in the Champions Cup.
After this seven-try success, he said: “This is a stepping-stone towards the final in Marseille. Do I think we can get there? Yes, I do, on that performance. We have shown we can beat any side in the land.”
Sale always had too much quality for an Ospreys side who fell to their fourth straight pool-stage defeat, yet they lacked precision during the opening 40 minutes and had three tries chalked off as chances were spurned.
Nevertheless, winger Tom Roebuck claimed his first in the 13th minute when he collected AJ MacGinty’s sumptuous crossfield kick to score in the right corner.
Reed then applied the coup de grace to Rodd’s excellent work before hooker Ewan Ashman dived over shortly after the interval.
Sale began to cut loose and Dan du Preez finished off a scintillating move before Curtis Langdon and Jack Metcalf also touched down and Roebuck added his second.
Ospreys were outclassed from start to finish but Toby Booth took heart from the try-scoring performance of debutant Harri Deaves in the back row. The Welsh region lost fellow flanker Sam Cross to a serious knee injury at the end of the first half, however.
Booth, whose side were missing a host of key players, including a number of Wales internationals, said: “Sam is in a brace and on crutches and had to have gas and air on the pitch, so it looks like a knee ligament injury. The fact he was conscious throughout and acknowledged people as he left the pitch was a positive. But it looks quite a serious one.
“Harri had an impact on the game and that point of difference was encouraging for him and us. Physics is physics and when Sale’s big boys get a roll on they’re hard to stop.
“You’re playing against World Cup winners and half of South Africa, but we were plucky and Harri and Ethan Roots epitomised that. Yet we didn’t do enough well enough for long enough and ultimately the physics took its toll.”