Alex Sanderson says Sale Sharks will relish the prospect of a Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against La Rochelle’s “galacticos” after smashing the Scarlets 57-14 in Llanelli.

A tough trip to France now awaits the Sharks on Saturday after they booked a first European Cup last-eight tie for 15 years.

And it was never in doubt as they produced a dominant display built on immense forward power and 32 points – a Sale European Cup record – from fly-half AJ MacGinty.

“They (La Rochelle) are a side who pride themselves on that physicality and defence and are good over the ball, as we do, so that will be a good match-up,” Sale rugby director Sanderson said.

“Then you have to handle some of their brilliant ball-carriers and galactico stars. I am very excited about that prospect.

“I think this is the best club tournament in the world. It’s brilliant. There is an intensity and buzz about it, and it’s a sabbatical away from the grind of the Premiership.

He added: “The intent is there that we are going for this. It takes a gargantuan effort to win it and you need a little bit of luck.”

The Scarlets had no answer as hooker Akker van der Merwe scored two first-half tries, while MacGinty kicked two conversions and three penalties to open up a 23-0 interval lead.

MacGinty’s final haul broke Charlie Hodgson’s European individual Sale best of 22 points, set in 2006.

His immaculate performance featured a try and 11 successful kicks out of 11 while wing Marland Yarde, lock Josh Beaumont and substitute scrum-half Raphael Quirke also touched down.

Sanderson added: “I would not think we would come down and win (with) 57 points. They are better than that, and we know that. We caught them cold and we were red-hot.

“Everything seemed to click and you get those kind of games. We have felt like a good performance has been coming and it was a level up.”