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Leeds sunk by Sharks
Leeds Tykes' attempt to defend their Powergen Cup crown is over after a convincing defeat at Sale Sharks on Friday.
The Powergen Cup holders have not won a game this season and their woes were compounded with a 45-10 defeat at Sale.
Spanish winger Oriol Ripol was the star of the show for the hosts as he ran in a hat-trick of tries in a rare appearance for The Sharks.
Phil Davies' Leeds side had to deal with injuries to the influential pair of Iain Balshaw and Tom Palmer, and the Tykes proved no match for the hosts on the night.
The Sharks went ahead after just three minutes at Edgeley Park, with a Robert Todd try following a powerful run by Sebastien Chabal - who then set up Ripol for his first try on 12 minutes.
Leeds struck back in their first attack when scrum-half Danny Care nipped over the line from a scrum, with Gordon Ross converting the touchdown.
However, Sale struck back and Lionel Faure's burst through the Leeds defence from a lineout secured Sale's third try and opened up a 19-7 advantage.
Jason Robinson's trickery enabled Ripol to bag his second try on 35 minutes, which saw Sale go in at half time holding a 26-10 lead.
Sebastien Bruno touched down for another Sale score after a powerful drive from the home pack, and Ripol secured his hat-trick with ten minutes left as the Sharks exerted their dominance.
Winger Steve Hanley added a healthy look to the scoreline for Philippe Saint-Andre's side, with the crucial bonus point keeping them in the hunt for a semi-final spot, whilst Leeds' cup hopes are over.
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|Saturday 31st January|
|14:40||Harlequins vs Bath|
|15:00||Scarlets vs London Irish|
|15:00||Wasps vs Cardiff Blues|
|15:00||Leicester vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Ospreys|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Sale|
|15:00||London Welsh vs Saracens|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Bath vs Ospreys|
|15:00||Sale vs Scarlets|
|15:00||Northampton vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Saracens vs Exeter|
|15:00||Cardiff Blues vs Leicester|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com