Connacht thumped by Sale Sharks in Challenge Cup

Chris Ashton boosted his England chances with a debut hat-trick as Sale thumped Connacht 34-13 in the Challenge Cup.

Connacht thumped by Sale Sharks in Challenge Cup

Chris Ashton boosted his England chances with a debut hat-trick as Sale thumped Connacht 34-13 in the Challenge Cup.

The 31-year-old's Sale debut was delayed by a seven-week ban for a tip tackle picked up in pre-season. But, when he finally took to the field for the Sharks in Salford, he quickly made up for lost time.

Ashton was this week named in England's squad for November's autumn Test series and handed head coach Eddie Jones a much-needed boost with his performance at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Hooker Shane Delahunt crossed for Connacht, with Conor Fitzgerald posting a conversion and two penalties, but the Westerners were well-beaten.

Josh Beaumont added a score of his own to ensure Sale secured the winning bonus-point to stay top of Pool Three after two rounds.

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