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European venture starts on Sunday
7:06pm Monday 8th October 2012 in Sport
THE Heineken Cup, European rugby’s premier competition, makes its bow at Salford City Stadium next Sunday lunchtime, when Sale Sharks face Cardiff Blues (kick off 12.45pm).
The start of the six-game qualifying pool sees the Sharks and the Blues paired for the third time in the tournament’s history.
French giants Toulon and Montpellier await both sides between now and January.
Ironically, Cardiff Blues were the visitors when Heineken Cup Rugby made its debut at Edgeley Park, the Sharks’ former home, in 2003.
Delayed by two months because of the World Cup which was triumphantly paraded by England head coach Clive Woodward before kick off, the game was narrowly won by Sale Sharks thanks to a late Hodgson drop goal.
Six years on, and Cardiff Blues were again the visitors in an Edgeley Heineken Cup game. Sharks won again, by a single point this time.
Can Sale Sharks make it ‘third time lucky’ against the men from the Arms Park? Neither side enters the fray in the greatest of form, but Bryan Redpath’s men showed all the right signs of determination, pride and passion against Leicester Tigers last Friday. The Heineken Cup could provide just the ‘kickstart’ to the season that their supporters are hoping for.