Sale Sharks overcame Leeds Carnegie 23-17 at Headingley on Sunday to maintain their 100 per cent start to the LV= Cup.
Sale Sharks held firm in the face of a second-half rally from Leeds Carnegie to maintain their 100 per cent start to the LV= Anglo Welsh Cup with a 23-17 victory at Headingley.
Sean Cox and Rhys Crane both touched down for first-half tries while Matty James kicked 13 points as Sale built on their superb victory over London Irish last week.
Leeds, who twice got to within a converted try of victory thanks to second-half scores from Scott Barrow and Scott Mathie, are still searching for their first win in domestic competition this season, a sequence that has now stretched to nine games.
The hosts started the brighter of the two sides and were rewarded for the hard yards their pack gained through the middle with a simple penalty for fly-half Christian Lewis-Pratt on seven minutes.
Sale's cause was not helped when their Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel was forced off after just ten minutes with a recurrence of his troublesome groin injury.
But as the half progressed the visitors began to assert themselves with James pulling the strings from fly-half.
It was his pass that released Fergus Mulchrone through the centre but his burst to the line was halted by Michael Stephenson.
However, they were not to be denied on 17 minutes when, from an attacking lineout, Sharks captain Cox was driven over at the back of a maul – James adding the conversion.
Sale extended their advantage to 14-3 when Leeds hooker James Parkes – playing his first game since April 2008 due to Andy Titterrell's knee ligament injury and Steve Thompson's England call – fumbled in midfield, allowing Crane to collect and sprint over.
James again converted to build a healthy lead, although it would have been cut to just five points had 20-year-old Lewis-Pratt not shown his inexperience by missing two straightforward penalty attempts.
James proved more accurate with a long-range penalty before the break but a more purposeful Leeds struck back at the start of the second half when Barrow charged down Will Addison's kick to score.
This time Lewis-Pratt did find the target with his conversion attempt and the lead was down to seven.
Sale then had to withstand considerable pressure from the home side as scrum-half Warren Fury orchestrated a host of attacks, with Leeds captain Marco Wentzel instrumental.
But the pressure was alleviated with another James penalty after a bulldozing break down the middle by centre Iain Thornley.
Another James penalty gave Sale further breathing space but Leeds were not done as Peter Wackett stormed through the centre and after being held up at the line, played in the supporting Mathie to score.
Replacement fly-half Ceiron Thomas kicked the conversion but Sale held on.
Leeds Carnegie: 15 Michael Stephenson, 14 Lee Blackett, 13 James Tincknell, 12 Scott Barrow, 11 Peter Wackett, 10 Christian Lewis-Pratt, 9 Warren Fury, 8 Daniel Browne, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Rhys Oakley, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 James Craig, 3 Juan Gomez, 2 Phil Nilsen, 1 Gareth Denman.
Replacements:16 James Parkes, 17 Miguel Alonso, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Danny Paul, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 Ceiron Thomas, 23 Leigh Hinton.
Sale: 15 Nick Macleod, 14 Rhys Crane, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Iain Thornley, 11 Will Addison, 10 Matty James, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 Asaeli Boko, 7 Neil McMillan, 6 Chris Brightwell, 5 Sean Cox (c), 4 Chris Jones, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ben Roberts, 1 Lee Imiolek.
Replacements:16 Neil Briggs, 17 Aston Croall, 18 Simon McIntyre, 19 Nic Rouse, 20 Dan Hall, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Chris Leck, 23 Anitelea Tuilagi.