Sale Sharks ran six tries past London Irish in a ruthless display to win 38-10 at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday.
Sale maintained their unbeaten home record with Nev Edwards – who this time last year was playing rugby semi-professionally – grabbing two tries.
Brian Mujati, TJ Ioane, Sam James, and Sam Tuitupou also got themselves on the scoresheet for a Sale side who now move level on points with sixth placed Northampton Saints.
Irish, who started the day with the worst defence in the league, rarely threatened getting anything out of the game, and were outclassed in all aspects by a Sale side who will look to use this as a springboard to move onto better things.
Irish got off to a decent start, with Shane Geraghty kicking over a penalty won from a breakdown in front of the posts, but Sale responded in fine fashion, Mujati sneaking over in the corner. The conversion was missed by Danny Cipriani, with some blame put down to the blustery conditions.
The adverse weather made for entertaining play, and after multiple scrums went in the home side's favour, Ioane got himself on the scoresheet, crashing over from close range. This time, Cipriani converted, and Sharks led 12-3.
Moments later, a chance to extend that lead came in the form of a penalty, but the wind once again took control of Cipriani's effort, sending it wide.
With ten minutes to go until the break, the Exiles thought they had found a way back into the game, but the TMO ruled a forward pass in the build-up to Will Lloyd going over.
The visitors continued to apply pressure despite the disappointment of the disallowed try, and were rewarded moments before half-time with a penalty try after a series of drives from the Exiles forward line. Geraghty added the extras, reducing the deficit to 12-10 at the break.
If Irish made a strong start to the first half, Sharks made a near-knockout punch at the start of the second, thanks to James going over for his side's third try of the game having been fed by Tuitupou. Cipriani made no mistake with the conversion, and it was 19-10.
With little more than a quarter of the game remaining, Edwards scored the fourth try for the hosts – securing a bonus point in the process – but it was all too simple as the visiting defence opened up to allow him to cross the line with relative ease, and Cipriani converted.
Sale ended the game as a contest as Edwards got through once more to cross the line following a break from fellow try-scorer James. Although Cipriani was unable to add the extras, the lead was extended to 31-10 thanks to the try.
By the time it came to the final ten minutes, Sale were unstoppable.
Their sixth try came from Tuitupou, who crashed over after playing his part in the driving maul. Joe Ford was the man with the conversion, extending the lead to 28 points.
With minutes remaining, Irish thought they had scored a try, but the TMO ruled it out, and Irish were rewarded with a scrum rather than five points.
There were chances for the hosts to score a seventh try, most noticeably through Ioane who knocked on close to the try line, but in the end they had to be content with the 38-10 victory.
Tries: Mujati, Ioane, James, Edwards 2, Tuitupou
Cons: Cipriani 3, Ford
Try: Penalty Try
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Will Addison, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Nev Edwards, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Josh Beaumont 7 David Seymour (c), 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Andrei Ostrikov, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Eifion Lewis-Roberts,
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Jonathan Mills, 20 Cameron Neild, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Tom Arscott.
Irish: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Aseli Tikoirotuma, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Luke Narraway 7 Conor Gilsenan, 6 Ofisa Treviranus, 5 Will Lloyd, 4 Matt Symons (c), 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court
Replacements: 16 Gerard Ellis, 17 Johnny Harris, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Rob McCusker, 21 Scott Steele, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Andrew Fenby
Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee, Gareth Copsey
TMO: Keith Lewis