Alex Sanderson hailed the “on fire” Rob du Preez after Sale’s captain for the day inspired his side to a convincing 39-0 win against Ulster in their Heineken Champions Cup opener today.

The fly-half was among six Sale try-scorers in a one-sided encounter at the AJ Bell Stadium, while he also added nine points from the tee in a display which saw him lead by example.

Sanderson found little to fault from his side’s performance and singled out Du Preez for praise.

“As I said earlier in the season, Rob du Preez and George Ford have been really pushing our attack,” he said.

“I think it’s really helped that Rob has been on fire this season, so he’s making it easier for everyone else.

“We talked in the week about him being captain and that he has got to lead people around him as well.

“He was the one doing most of the talking in the huddles and he managed the game really well. I thought he carried it well today.

“I’m very pleased with how we’ve played and everything about the performance. It’s as close as you can get to an international as you can get, so we’re happy.”

Next up for Sale is a tough-looking trip to Toulouse, but Sanderson hopes his side can continue their momentum.

“Toulouse have a lot of big names and Jack Willis has been added to that list, so it’s huge, we’re excited,” he said.

“We’ve played them away before but it was during Covid, so it will be good to get a full French crowd out there.”