SALE Sharks' resurgent run of form was checked at Cardiff Arms Park as they suffered European Challenge Cup disappointment last weekend.

In a game played out amidst testing conditions in the Welsh capital, the Blues gained revenge for the previous week's 24-0 loss at the AJ Bell Stadium with Matthew Morgan scoring the game's sole try and fly-half Gareth Anscombe kicking three penalties.

Scrum-half Will Cliff bagged two penalties for the Sharks but, despite a late second-half rally, the visitors were unable to further trouble the scoreboard.

The defeat halted the Sharks' fine run which had seen them win five of their previous six games and the result means Sale now face an uphill battle to top pool two with only two games remaining as they lie six points behind the Blues, who ensured they retained top spot with the victory.

It was the Blues who struck first on nine minutes with Anscombe drilling over a penalty with the hosts transformed from the side that lost 24-0 in Salford eight days earlier.

However, Sale gradually settled and after a Denny Solomona break almost carved open the Blues defence, Cliff brought Sale level on 12 minutes with a well-struck penalty.

Cardiff hit back with a devastating 21st-minute break by Seb Davies but as the giant lock raced towards the line a brilliant Mike Haley tackle forced him to knock-on.

With Cliff sending a 39th-minute penalty just wide it meant the teams went in at the break level.

In the second half, Cardiff eventually claimed the game's crucial first try on 48 minutes.

After driving to within a metre of the Sale line, the Blues quickly worked the ball wide where full-back Morgan was able to touch down unmarked.

The Sharks changed their entire front row as they sought an instant response.

Instead, another Anscombe penalty on 54 minutes inched the Blues further ahead.

Sale kept looking to attack with a knock-on halting a promising break after Solomona had punched a hole in the Blues back-line and the England centre created havoc again on 65 minutes with another brilliant break which earned Sale a third penalty and Cliff made no mistake this time to narrow the deficit to 11-6.

With Sale now applying pressure, the Blues conjured up a counter-attack which earned them another penalty and Anscombe made no mistake to seal victory.