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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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|Sunday 8th February|
|Saracens 35 - 18 Exeter|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 17 - 13 London Welsh|
|Saturday 7th February|
|Northampton 29 - 6 Wasps|
|Gloucester 25 - 7 Harlequins|
|Bath 10 - 13 Ospreys|
|London Irish 13 - 31 Newcastle|
|Cardiff Blues 9 - 43 Leicester|
|Sale Sharks 38 - 3 Scarlets|
|Sunday 1st February|
|Newcastle 39 - 19 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 15 - 20 Saracens|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 32 - 37 Exeter|
|Wasps 42 - 45 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 31st January|
|Scarlets 27 - 18 London Irish|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Northampton|
|Gloucester 32 - 25 Ospreys|
|Harlequins 21 - 23 Bath|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com