SALE Sharks and the rest of Premiership Rugby will take a two-week mid-season break after it was announced European rugby’s Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup had been suspended.

The Sharks signed off with a 20-13 win over Worcester on Friday night thanks to tries from Faf de Klerk and Jono Ross while AJ MacGinty kicked 10 points.

European Professional Club Rugby had hoped to avoid a break by drawing up new coronavirus protocols, including the introduction of testing three days before matches.

But after the French government ordered its clubs to postpone their January fixtures, the EPCR has reluctantly called a halt with two rounds of group-stage fixtures still to play.

An EPCR statement said: “Following a directive from the French authorities that the participation of TOP 14 clubs in the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup at the current time constitutes too great a public health risk, EPCR has no choice but to announce that the 2020/21 tournaments are temporarily suspended.”

In the wake of EPCR’s statement, Premiership Rugby announced a fortnight’s mid-season break.

Chief executive Darren Childs said: “The welfare of everyone involved in Premiership Rugby is crucial to us and this break in the season gives us the chance to hand some much-needed rest to our hard-working players, management, staff and match officials.”

Sale return to action on January 30 at Leicester Tigers.