Tom Arscott inflicted London Welsh’s third straight heavy defeat with a hat-trick of tries for Sale Sharks in Saturday’s clash.

The former Welsh back, who scored the club’s first Aviva Premiership try, crossed three times to leave the Exiles firmly rooted to the foot of the table.

However, when Nic Reynolds touched down for a try in the corner to make it 18-8 with 23 minutes remaining all possibilities remained on the table.

But when Welsh needed to get the basics right, they were left wanting.

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Just as at Bath a week earlier, Welsh made the worst possible start when Arscott went over for Sale in only the third minute. Danny Cipriani added the first of his three conversions.

The Exiles responded well, however, despite the disruption caused by the early loss of both Seb Stegmann and Tim Molenaar.

Barkley replied with a penalty and the Welsh fly half then had the chance to kick the visitors into the lead, only to see his attempt slip wide to the left of the uprights.

After a few bright early moments, however, Welsh were being asked to make increasingly more tackles.

A penalty pushed into the corner would bring the home side’s second try – Vadim Cobilas driving over from close range after the Sale forwards had muscled their way to within striking range. Only the intervention of Koree Britton prevented Mark Easter from adding try No 3 soon after.

Arscott cut a sway though the Welsh jerseys and only the hand of Britton prevented Chris Cuister from finding his No 8 for what would have been a certain score.

Sale continued to press, but had to be content with a Cipriani penalty, which saw former Shark Dean Schofield despatched to the sin-bin, and a 15-3 lead at the break.

The Sale fly half wasted little time in increasing the home side’s advantage upon the restart by adding a second penalty after the Exiles were penalised at a scrum in front of their own posts.

Schofield’s yellow card had cost Welsh two Cipriani penalties on the scoreboard, but the return of the former Sale second row coincided with the Exiles’ best spell of the game.

When Britton was forced in to touch just short of the line it seemed as if the Exiles would get no reward, but their persistence paid off when Ollie Stedman, Barkley and Tom May combined to send Reynolds over in the corner.

Barkley couldn’t add the conversion but Welsh could still contemplate taking something from the game.

Just ten points separated the sides with more than a quarter of the match still to play.

Welsh had every chance to get the next, crucial, score after Cipriani nudged a penalty into the corner only for Welsh to repel the Sale catch and drive and win the put in at the scrum.

That should have been the chance to clear their lines.

Instead, a knock-on at the back of the Welsh scrum, spotted by referee Andrew Small, gifted Sale the put-in and a chance to close the game out.

The home side were not to let the opportunity slip, working the ball wide for Arscott to cross.

Welsh went in search of a quick riposte and they went close from another catch and drive, but the clock was now against them.

Continuing to press, the Exiles were caught on the counter – Sale keeping the ball alive until they worked it to Brady for the winger to shrug off a couple of tackles to claim the bonus point try.

Sensing cheap tries for the taking, Sale were now rampant.

Arscott ghosted in for his hat-trick, with Andrea Ostrikov then setting up Luke McLean for try No 6 – the home side’s third in a four-minute spell.

Welsh were shell-shocked, but need to regroup ahead of Friday’s televised home game against Gloucester at the Kassam Stadium on Friday evening.

Sale Sharks: McLean, Brady, Addison (Jennings 25), Leota, Arscott, Cipriani (Ford 76), Cusiter (Cliff 66), Harrison (De Marchi 61), Mamukashvili (Neild 76), Cobilas (Lewis Roberts 55), Mills (Ostrikov 61), Paterson, Lund (Fihaki  70), Seymour, Easter.
London Welsh: Jewell, Stegmann (May 12),  Reynolds, Molenaar (Roberts 16), Scott, Barkley, Weepu (R Lewis 67), Reeves (Cahill 61), Britton (Morris 61), Vea (Gilding 61), Schofield (Stedman 56), Down (Corker 67), P Browne, Thorpe, McCaffrey.
Referee: A Small
Attendance: 4,953

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