Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson admitted his side had been “outclassed” after their heaviest ever defeat to Exeter, with the Devon side winning 43-0 at Sandy Park last weekend.

Greg Fisilau, Dan Frost, Josh Iosefa-Scott, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, Niall Armstrong crossed for the Chiefs, who were also awarded a penalty try.

Centre Henry Slade added 11 points from four conversions and a penalty.

Sanderson said: “I am taking this off the lads to a degree because there was something clearly wrong with our preparation and messaging this week - how strong those messages were and how relevant they were - and making the lads aware of the threat of the opposition and intensity, which we weren’t up to for the whole 80 minutes.

“In the second 40 minutes we made it more competitive but we still weren’t in the contest.

“We just weren’t at the races and there is going to have to be some deep introspection, and no doubt some technical fault correction, but first off it is around mentality and how we got it so wrong as coaches.

“We were outclassed, outworked and outmuscled in every area, and that’s credit to Exeter. The coaches have done a great job over the summer with the young group, and if they can continue this and build experience, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

Exeter forwards coach Rob Hunter was delighted after the Devon side thrashed one of last season’s Premiership finalists for a second time in three weeks.

“We are over the moon. Sale are a very tough, physical side, especially in those conditions, and we rolled up our sleeves and really went at the game in a different way to what we did against Saracens two weeks ago. We couldn’t be happier with that performance,” he said.

“All credit to the lads, they really focused on what they needed to do, and if you just keep it very simple, and put all your effort into that, it gives you an opportunity to be competitive, and we have done that very, very well.

“We have still got quite a bit of experience knocking about in the squad, but I think this season has given a new lease of life to some of our experienced players, with different expectations, a different style of play.

“We have changed quite a few things, and for a group of coaches as well, it is incredibly refreshing and enjoyable to get in on a Monday morning and coach a group of lads who are just totally focused on working hard and getting better.”